I don’t know if it matters. I’m not sure if it should matter. But, you can be assured there will be plenty of folks on both sides of the orientation to try and convince you it does matter.
In this age of tug-of-war over the “gay agenda” or civil and human rights, from whichever the spectrum you land – some folks will argue it most sincerely matters whether we nominate and confirm a Supreme Court Justice that is a lesbian.
Certainly it mattered when the first woman was seated. Also too when the first African American donned the robes. And, most recently, of course when the first Latina was given the gavel. So, why not a lesbian?
Why not indeed.
I would argue that a lesbian might just be the perfect person for the job. With so many arguments looming on the horizon, doesn’t it make sense to have someone seated who actually can not only visualize both sides of an argument but actually has experience with some of the issues?
I fully support a justice who is impartial and wouldn’t allow their personal experiences to weigh their decisions for or against a particular topic based solely on their identification factors. But, in the end, aren’t we all a sum of identification factors? And, don’t those factors feed into our decision making processes? And, don’t those same factors provide us the empathy we need to have shared experiences with others in society?
Not necessarily people of the same ilk – but certainly experiences like discrimination, or prejudice are human experiences and can’t really be weeded out of anyone’s psyche. Nor, would I argue, should we try. These are the very things that make us relate to others – that give us hope to help one another and to see each other’s sides.
All this may be mute, because Elena Kagen is reported to not be a lesbian. So, I raise all this hypothetically, because if not this woman, why not a lesbian? The time may be right to continue to add a representation of the bench that is as diverse as America itself.