Nancy Polikoff

Potential SCOTUS Nominee Leah Sears: Underestimated Hostility to LGBT Families

Filed By Nancy Polikoff | April 30, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Alliance for Justice, Leah Sears, Pam Karlan, Urvashi Vaid, US Supreme Court vacancy

The Alliance for Justice released reports Wednesday on thirteen possible nominees for the Supreme Court position being vacated by Justice Stevens. The Alliance for Justice is my favorite Washington DC-based group. (This year they are honoring long-time gay rights activist Urvashi Vaid at their spring luncheon, and cast members from Law and Order will be there -- so get your tickets now!)

Leah Sears appears on the AFJ list, and the report includes her connection to the Institute for American Values (IAV) and an op-ed she wrote as reasons to be concerned about her commitment to marriage equality and the right of same-sex couples to raise children.

I think the AFJ does not go far enough.

I've blogged on Leah Sears before, including once before she showed up on the list for the last Supreme Court vacancy. She used her position as chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court to co-host a conference with IAV at the Court itself to push a right-wing "marriage promotion" agenda. Her nomination to the Supreme Court would bode ill for gay and lesbian families and for the social and economic support all women need to raise children.

There are many heroes on the AFJ list.

Pam Karlan is exactly who we need, and is openly gay, but Obama has done nothing to suggest he would take on the right-wing opposition she would generate. Elizabeth Warren is the person I would most trust in the country to fix our financial woes; that makes her my candidate for Treasury Secretary, but that position is taken by one of the guys who got us into the trouble we're in.

Carlos Moreno has the strongest track record supporting gay and lesbian parenting and same-sex marriage, as a result of his rulings while on the California Supreme Court (he was the sole member of the court to rule that Prop 8 was unconstitutional). Martha Minow has a long list of family law scholarship that includes support for same-sex couples raising children. Others on the list are likely good news for gay and lesbian families (and wishful thinking, I'm afraid), just not Leah Sears.

cross-posted from Beyond Straight and Gay Marriage


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SkepticalCidada | April 30, 2010 10:29 PM

Nancy, I think you're being too easy on Obama with regard to Pam. It seems clear to me that the White House is deliberately screening out anyone who is gay--whether Pam, Kathleen Sullivan, or others--no matter how well qualified. We have a word to describe that behavior: discrimination.

It's infuriating, I agree. I fear when there is finally our first gay Supreme Court justice he or she will be, at best, of the Sandra Day O'Connor model, certainly not the Thurgood Marshall model.

Thanks for the warning, Nancy. I'll keep an eye on her.

This'll be a fun one to watch, won't it? Stevens said every nominee to the supreme court since Ford has been more conservative than his/her predecessor, except bader-ginsberg. I'm guessing Obama will continue the tradition.