Support for gay rights threatens to
derail Solicitor General Elena Kagan's possible Supreme Court
Kagan, whose name is often mentioned as
a contender to succeed retiring Justice Paul Stevens, faced a
difficult confirmation last year in the Senate, where social
conservatives attacked her for supporting gay rights.
Conservatives argue that Kagan mostly
likely supports giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.
As proof they cite a 2005 Supreme Court
challenge to an appellate ruling that permitted law schools to limit
the military's presence at campus recruiting events. Kagan was one
of 40 Harvard Law School professors who signed a friend-of-the-court
brief in support of the ruling.
The brief argued that the military's
“don't ask, don't tell” policy that bans gay troops from serving
openly violates the legal profession's anti-discriminatory policies.
Kagan, 49, called the policy “a
profound wrong – a moral injustice of the first order,” in a an
email to faculty and students, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Supreme Court unanimously disagreed
with the lower court ruling.
At her Senate confirmation hearing,
social conservatives attacked Kagan, saying she was too liberal.
“Ms. Kagan's extreme rhetoric makes
it highly likely that she also favors same-sex marriage, both as a
matter of policy and as a supposed federal constitutional right,”
opponents – including anti-gay rights stalwarts the American Family
Association and Focus on the Family – warned in a letter.
In a blog post, the anti-gay rights
group Family Research Council helmed by influential social
conservative Tony Perkins prayed against the confirmation of various
Obama nominees, including Kagan: “Please pray over these nominees.
May God move to prevent confirmation of those who will do harm [to]
our nation! May He restrain those who Senate conservatives have
little power to prevent from confirmation!”
“There is no federal constitutional
right to same-sex marriage,” Kagan responded to an inquiry by
Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, in a written follow-up to
Just yesterday, Cornyn, a member of the
Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would be OK with an openly gay
“As long as it doesn't interfere with
their job, it's not a particular issue,” he told The Hill.
Supreme Court justices are appointed