Lesbian Law Professor on Obama’s Supreme Court List?

The Victory Fund reports that Stanford Law School professor Kathleen Sullivan's name is being mentioned as a potential nominee to fill Souter's position on the SCOTUS:

Sullivan "Sullivan’s name appears on lists compiled by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and
numerous law blogs.  She is the founder and director of the Stanford
Constitutional Law Center, and served as dean of  Stanford Law School
from 1999 to 2004. Sullivan has filed amicus curiae briefs in some of the most important Supreme Court cases involving LGBT rights, including Bowers v. Hardwick and Lawrence v. Texas."

Last night, NBC's Pete Williams broke the news that Souter was planning to retire.


  1. Chitown Kev says

    This. Would. Be. Nice. Reeeeeeeally nice.

    But I’ll believe it when I see it. I don’t want the Obama Administration getting in the habit of throwing us crumbs and somewhat-empty symbols everytime they fuck up.

    But, this is no crumb r-a-t here.

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    Yes, appointing an openly gay woman to the United States Supreme Court would be a great act in helping the country to understand that gay people are a legitimate minority group who deserve equal rights. At the time Thurgood Marshall was appointed by Lyndon Johnson there were many white Americans who thought it impossible that a black man had enough sense to sit on the nation’s highest court. It helped “legitimize” black people as HUMAN BEINGS for many white folks who had always thought blacks inferior….all blacks inferior.

    Yes, it would be wonderful to have Ms Sullivan on the court BUT….BUT…there is an election in 2012. It appeared that the Conservative Christian Right was not that active in the last election. I don’t know if the President, Emmanual & Axelrod are willing to risk the wrath of the Warriors of God aka American Christian fundamentalists.

  3. realitythink says

    Don’t bet the farm on this one!! I very much hope so but very much doubt it. My bet is on a hispanic woman.

  4. says

    Couldn’t she be Japanese (daughter of somebody interned during WWII, say) and ten years younger?

    Otherwise, I’m good.

  5. nic says


    not to worry. obama will make the right choice. he is feeling the pressure to appoint a latina woman to the court. a lesbian will work better. hell, he should make a “mud in your eye” appointment by putting bill clinton in there. every which way, we all win. the fundies may as well fold up the tent and go home.

  6. lawdrk says

    Sullivan is the only out lesbian, but there’s at least one more on most of the short lists…

  7. Tony says

    I thought NPR broke the story. That’s what rival networks like CNN and CBS are saying. Minute detail, but NPR deserves more cred.

  8. RainbowPhoenix says

    Hopefully this doesn’t turn into a repeat of the potential lesbian labor secretary.

  9. Leland Frances says

    Oh this will absolutely happen. And she’ll buy a house right next to Obama’s gay Secretary of the Navy. Remember him?

  10. Pender says

    Pam Karlan is a brilliant gay constitutional scholar who is also (by some accounts) in the running. America would be so lucky to have her on the Court.

  11. occono says

    Could you imagine Scalia trying to hold his contempt for her? Assuming he’s as homophobic towards Lesbians as Gay men.

  12. Bruno says

    That’d be so fantastic. Imagine Scalia having to privately debate LGBT issues with an out lesbian. It’s too good a dream come true, might even be as big a goal as same-sex marriage throughout the country!

  13. says

    Look at the bigger picture: First, it would be very clear to Obama that gay marriage and equal rights have taken front stage in American politics. Clearly the east coast is about clean up in marriage and equality with California (fingers crossed) soon to follow. If for any reason it does not, it will be challenged and could very well end up at the Supreme Court sooner than not. To top it off, the likelihood of a million gay march in June is realistic. To keep his promise, it would be in his best interest to move forward with Ms. Sullivan. Not just because she’s a lesbian, but because she is more than qualified. Second, Ruth Bater isn’t doing so well these days and there’s a good chance she may be retiring this year. That would be his second chance to nominate a Hispanic woman to fill the seat.

    As for the Christian right coming down on him for nominating a lesbian to the SCOTUS; Do really think he gives a rats ass? They already don’t like him because of his stance on abortion (you know they really are single issue idiots). In fact, the Vatican has already slapped down his nominee (Caroline Kennedy) for ambassador and publicly slammed Obama. So what makes you think his nominating a lesbian would make him pull back? Highly unlikely. He’s already shown that he has an agenda that he wants to get rolling before the mid-term elections next year. The time IS now…”We’re here, we’re Queer and we’re not going anywhere”.

  14. Derrick from Philly says


    it’s not that Obama thinks the religious right likes him, or that he’ll ever get their votes…no, absolutely not. It’s the idea of Christian Holy Rollers getting angry at him–angry enough to start a movement against him in 2012. THat could cost him N. Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, Indiana, etc.

    But I STILL WANT SULLIVAN! We could get Leland Francis to calm down and “chill out” for a spell.

    Oh, my God, I’m starting to sound like my fellow Piscean, Jimmyboyo.

    There is a pro-gay rights woman Supreme Court Judge in Georgia also: Justice Sears. Rod McCullom did a story on her on his blog. She seems a great choice also.

    But I still say, a Latina…and that’s fine.

  15. says

    >>it’s not that Obama thinks the religious right likes him, or that he’ll ever get their votes…no, absolutely not. It’s the idea of Christian Holy Rollers getting angry at him–angry enough to start a movement against him in 2012<<

    Uh, that’s already happening. Gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research are about the only things they have to rally the troupes. Heck, they’ve already lost two of those battles and are about to lose the third. Fine with me; let them start their movement. From what I’ve seen, their just copying the left’s ability to get the message out via the Internet. Who knew they could even work a computer?

  16. says

    Actually NINA TOTENBERG of National Public radio broke the news at 9:36pm EDT.

    I have also heard the name of Black Lesbian Federal judge DEBORAH BATTS thrown around as well.

  17. Chitown Kev says



    You rock. Especially about Miss Leland, she is just too many things. But I love him just the same. :)

  18. lis says

    So… appoint her and give her the opportunity to show how much she kicks ass at her job, and let the rest watch. The right has to be expecting to hate any new appointments, anyway.

  19. Brian says

    Sullivan is an amazing lawyer who would be great for the court, but so would a number of other people whose names have been bandied about. I feel confident that I’ll be happy with Obama’s pick regardless

    @Keith, Ginsburg almost certainly won’t be retiring this year. the justices generally try to avoid having more than one opening at a time

  20. Leland Frances says

    DERRICK! The children and I are leaving you for ChiTown Kev! Those Lake Michigan winters will be a challenge, but….

  21. Anon says

    Regardless of who the Kenyan puts on the court, this country is fucked. We’re being spent into insolvency, our military is being dismantled, and the government is ballooning to the point of bursting.

    There’s not going to be a country in 10 years time if this keeps up, so it won’t matter what the court says or who’s on it. We’ll be too busy bowing down to Mecca while Islamic Militants murder anyone who had the poor judgment to be born white while they’re hanging anyone who’s gay. That’s what they do in Iran, and 0bama’s buddy-buddy with that lunatic. Enjoy playing with your “fiddle” as America burns.