Alex Blaze

Career advancement

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 17, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Democrats, Elena Kagan, lesbian, LGBT, supreme court, White House

From the Huffington Post:

On Friday, the Washington Post ran a meta-piece on the matter under the title: "Is sexual identity our business, or are we a nation of busybodies?" In it, author Karen Tumulty reported that "administration officials asked Kagan directly about her sexual orientation when she was being vetted for her post as solicitor general." It was a slightly interesting revelation, for nothing else than that it demonstrated the topic was on the administration's radar early in 2009.

But a White House official emailed the Huffington Post to push back on Tumulty's claim. It was Kagan who relayed her sexuality, not the White House who asked for it. And the conversation happened recently, not back in 2009.

"Solicitor General Kagan volunteered the information to the White House when media reports surfaced in the pre-nomination process for the Supreme Court," said a White House aide.

Assuming this is true, it shows more of what a careful careerist Kagan is. She had long since resigned to there being lesbian rumors about her and knew that the White House would be too uncomfortable to ask. She also probably suspected Obama wouldn't nominate even qualified LGBT people because... well, that's just who he is.

Can't say I blame her. There's still a lot of homophobia in this world, no matter how much certain blowhards think coming out is a great way for someone to advance their career, it's still an impediment 99% of the time.


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Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | May 17, 2010 6:41 PM

Even Andrew Sullivan now seems to think she is straight, although I'm sure various gaydar batteries still go off in many places. One thing about lifetime SCOTUS appointments. Once on the bench, a revelation that one had evolved to discover who he or she really is would almost certainly not lead to a successful impeachment attempt.

David Souter apparently can't be reached for comment.

You know, it's that "career advancement" mentality that's turned me off to Kagan. Her whole life seems to have been kept a blank slate just so she could go to the Court. I'm not talking about her sexuality - I mean her opinions on damn near anything that normal people talk about.

I agree. Kagan is mostly about furthering her own interest and remarkable has never take a stand on anything.

David Brooks in the NY Times:

Yet she [Kagan] also is apparently prudential, deliberate and cautious. She does not seem to be one who leaps into a fray when the consequences might be unpredictable. “She was one of the most strategic people I’ve ever met, and that’s true across lots of aspects of her life,” John Palfrey, a Harvard law professor, told The Times. “She is very effective at playing her cards in every setting I’ve seen.”

Tom Goldstein, the publisher of the highly influential SCOTUSblog, has described Kagan as “extraordinarily — almost artistically — careful. I don’t know anyone who has had a conversation with her in which she expressed a personal conviction on a question of constitutional law in the past decade.”

Her sexuality doesn't matter, her honesty does. She seems pretty "empty" to me. If she came out as a lesbian - she would at least become much more interesting. Perhaps she has missed an opportunity. But, it's clear her "career" is the most important thing in her life, maybe the only thing.

I'm not sure that wanting to be private equals diehard careerist. I know a number of people who just don't like to give out any information about their doings if they can avoid it. It's not my style, but I respect theirs.

Private would be one thing, but the White House said she's discussing her sexuality. I'm all for her just telling people to shut up, but that doesn't seem to be her style.