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Supreme Court nominee’s sex life the buzz in D.C. – Not Gay the Story Goes

The other story is if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck…

WASHINGTON – The White House wants Americans to know many things about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

She was a trailblazer at Harvard, being named the law school’s first female dean. She’s an open-minded moderate who welcomes a diversity of opinions. She’s a New York Mets fan. And, by the way, she is definitely not gay.

Kagan’s private life has become a hot – and very uncomfortable – topic in Washington’s media and political circles this week amid a campaign of whispers and innuendo by social conservative activists who contend the 50-year-old, unmarried U.S. solicitor-general is a lesbian.

The discussion – which has raged most intensely online – has appalled legal observers who contend Kagan’s private life is irrelevant to her qualifications for the Supreme Court, no matter if she is gay or straight.

But the Obama administration’s reaction is also under scrutiny as officials refute inaccurate statements about Kagan, while trying to avoid the perception they think her Supreme Court candidacy might suffer if she was gay.

“I don’t think it’s anybody’s business. I don’t know what her sexual orientation is, and I don’t care,” said Russell Wheeler, an expert on the Supreme Court selection process at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank. “I don’t think there is any appropriateness discussing it … I think it’s going to fizzle into nothing.”

Except it hasn’t.

The question of Kagan’s sexual orientation was first raised in mid-April by CBS News blogger Ben Domenech, a one-time Bush aide, who wrote that Obama might be considering Kagan to become the “first openly gay justice.”

The White House responded by accusing Domenech of making “false charges” and blasting CBS for “posting lies” on its website. Media outlets say White House officials have been telling reporters privately that Kagan is not gay.

But the ‘Kagan might be gay’ storyline has become a focus for conservative groups who are criticizing her nomination to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

“If Kagan is practising immoral sexual behaviour, it reflects on her character as a judicial nominee and her personal bias as potentially one of the most important public officials in America,” said Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.

The attacks on Kagan prompted her close friends to give on-the-record interviews professing she was heterosexual. “She dated men when we were in law school … She just didn’t find the right person,” Sarah Walzer, a law school roommate of Kagan’s, told Politico.com.

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