Newly-formed grassroots group Equal Rep
is developing a campaign to urge President Barrack Obama to appoint a
lesbian to the Supreme Court.
Kathleen M. Sullivan, an openly lesbian
former Stanford Law School dean, is being mentioned as a possible
nominee to replace Justice David H. Souter on the Supreme Court.
Sullivan's name appears on short lists
of nominees published by both the Washington Post and the Wall
“Kathleen Sullivan is hands down one
of the most qualified candidates,” said Equal Rep's founder Paul
Sousa in a statement. Additionally, as a gay woman, Sullivan “would
bring some much needed diversity to the Supreme Court,” Sousa said.
Justice Souter, 69, announced plans to
retire at the end of the term in June on Friday. Reports indicate
that he has grown disenchanted with Washington and yearns to return
to his life in Concord, New Hampshire. Souter, who was nominated by
the first George Bush, is considered a disappointment by
conservatives for his liberal record.
Sullivan is one of America's leading
scholars on constitutional law. She became the first female dean of
any school at Stanford, taking over the Law School in 1999. In 2004,
she stepped down from her post as dean to serve as the inaugural
director of the Stanford Center on Constitutional Law.
Sullivan has filed “friend of the
court” briefs in several high-profile Supreme Court cases dealing
with gay rights, including the 1986 case that upheld the
criminalization of being gay (Bowers v. Hardwick) and its
antipode, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down sodomy laws 17
This is the fourth attempt by
Boston-based Equal Rep to influence Obama to pick an openly gay
The group considers a lobbying campaign
to pick openly gay Fred Hochberg as Secretary of Commerce after New
Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew himself from consideration a
success, despite the fact that Hochberg did not land the job. The
effort, however, might have tipped the decision to name Hochberg the
first openly gay director of the Export-Import Bank.
But a failed effort to lobby the Obama
transition team to consider Mary Beth Maxwell, an openly lesbian
candidate, to the position of Secretary of Labor, ended the
aspirations of gay rights leaders for a cabinet-level appointment.
The group says it gathered over 1,200 confirmed Maxwell supporters.
Instead, Obama picked California Representative Hilda Solis, a
Democrat, for the job.
Obama also passed on an openly gay
Secretary of the Navy nominee, William White.
The group is reaching out to supporters
on social networking sites like Facebook and its own website at
Participants are being asked to phone and email the White House
office for three days starting May 20 in support of a Sullivan