NOM Chair Calls Supreme Court Justice John Roberts’ Decision to Adopt Children a ‘Second-Best’ Option

A new AP story takes a look at the families of the Supreme Court justices and looks at how their personal lives might affect cases they take on.

SecondbestThe article notes that Justices John Roberts and Clarence Thomas both have adopted children and contains a particularly offensive quote from NOM Chair John Eastman:

"The diversity of the family lives of the justices mirrors the diversity of American families overall," said Andrew Cherlin, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist who studies families and public policy.

Cherlin, who does not follow the high court especially closely, wondered whether the gay marriage cases might take on a similar dynamic. "If justices consider their own family lives in these cases, it may change the way they rule," he said.

Gay marriage opponents said they are not worried about the votes of Roberts and Thomas.

"You're looking at what is the best course societywide to get you the optimal result in the widest variety of cases. That often is not open to people in individual cases. Certainly adoption in families headed, like Chief Roberts' family is, by a heterosexual couple, is by far the second-best option," said John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage. Eastman also teaches law at Chapman University law school in Orange, Calif.


  1. Jerry says

    We owe a vote of “thanks” to John Eastman, who in his role of NOM idealogue has managed to call John Roberts’ family second-rate. This should come as a surprise to Justice Roberts.

  2. Thomas says

    Wow. I know these people are idiots, but this sets a new standard.

    I’ve met a few of the professors and students at “law schools” like Chapman, Ave Maria, etc. It is impossible to have a casual conversation with them that doesn’t become a trip to crazy town. I remember well when I told a group of them that I was gay and the one asked if I was “practicing.” My response was “Well, it’s not like they just give out tickets to hell based on raw talent.”

  3. Ed says

    I don’t agree with but do understand the statement made by John Eastman. However, to imply that Mr. Eastman said that adopted children are second best within a family is just plain wrong – and it’s obvious. I don’t want smart people to start equating “pro-homosexual” politics with dishonesty in any form. In fact, I believe our recent success on so many different issues is due, in part, to smart people seeing the same kind thing coming from the other side.

  4. Thomas says

    @Ed–Towleroad does that a lot, presumably to get click-throughs and increase traffic. But in this case there’s not much gap between the headline and article. Eastman thinks adoption is second best to having biological children. Whether you put the emphasis on it being a personal “decision” or the product of uncontrollable circumstance (infertility, being too old, etc.) it’s still a very strident stance to characterize a whole class of families as being “less than optimal” without any empirical justification to back it up.

  5. Thomas says

    @Ed–Unless you meant the graphic that goes with the story, which I just noticed and is clearly using a quote incorrectly. Is that made by Towleroad or someone else?

  6. Rich in DC says

    Yes, I’m certain that being raised by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is second best to being raised by a crack head.

  7. andrew says

    It seems to me that adopted children are always wanted and planned for children. If the truth be told, many biological children are the result of accidents or unplanned pregnancies.

  8. MoreInfo says

    Chapman University is basically bought and paid for by former Bush fundraiser, slum landlord, and Ambassador to Spain George Argyos.

    They are Orange County Register libertarians, that is, they believe everyone has the right to do whatever they want as long as they do not enter into their Newport Beach gated communities with ocean view or God forbid mess with their boat slips.

    Chapman is the school for well-to-do Southern Californians whose children are not bright enough for the University of California system.

    As a Chapman law school alumnus, I am ashamed that John Eastman is associated with the school and I think if you polled the faculty (maybe not the students) most would agree – you might have to ask them anonymously though.

  9. Randy says

    Clarence wife is white. Maybe they realized how difficult it can be for an interracial child. Unlike gays, who will have any baby that moves to have it their way.

  10. Bill says

    NOM’s chair made a good decision in spouting this nonsense – good for us. It couldn’t have happened at a better time, with the Supreme Court about to hear two cases with implications regarding same-sex marriage.

    NOM to Roberts: “Your family is second rate. Now, please vote our way.”

    I once saw a humorous employee performance review form with the following:

    Communication Skills:
    1. Talks to God.
    2. Talks to others.
    3. Talks to himself.
    4. Argues with himself.
    5. Loses arguments with himself.

    I’d give NOM’s chair a ‘5’!

  11. I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff says

    The Paranoia Switch by Martha Stout (

    Ten Behavioral Characteristics of Fear Brokers
    1. Fear brokers speak to us of fear, dangerous people and frightening situations
    2. Fear brokers are not limited by facts; they use alarming “unfacts”
    3. Fear brokers tend to accuse those who disagree with them of being unpatriotic or naïve
    4. Feat brokers look good
    5. Fear brokers behave like archetypal parents
    6. Fear brokers shame us over sex
    7. Fear brokers praise us for being moral and heroic, contradicting as it is
    8. Fear brokers project personal infallibility
    9. Fear brokers are secretive, and are certain that other people too, are keeping dangerous secrets
    10. Fear broker use language that pulls for primitive affect

  12. I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff says

    The Paranoia Switch by Martha Stout (

    These familiar history McCarthyism, the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans, and the rise of the Klu Klux Klan after the Civil War – are three American examples of what I have called “limbic wars.” Every limbic war can be divided into six stages.

    These stages do not have distinct beginning or ends, but rather merge, almost imperceptibly, each into the next. The first phase always involves a traumatizing event, usually a war or an attack. The five subsequent stages are essential reaction to the fear instilled in people minds by the initial tragedy.

    The second stage is the all-important one. If leaders willing to us the paranoia switch are not embraced by the people, a limbic war may not occur at all, and the unhappy unfolding of Stages 3 through 6 can be avoided. If they accept the fear brokers, the process continues into its third stage.

    The Six Stages of Limbic War
    1. Group Trauma
    2. Fear Brokers
    3. Scapegoatism
    4. Cultural Regression
    5. Recognition & Backlash
    6. Regret & Amnesia

  13. Lee says

    Okay, so this NOM guy is basically saying that (heterosexual) families adopting kids is “by far the second-best option”, presumably for the kids’ well-being, right?

    Hmmm, given that probably more than 90% of all kids who are adopted are adopted out of orphanages and foster care, what exactly would be the best option for them, according to NOM? Not be adopted and remain in orphanages/foster care? And these kids are in these institutions because there was a heterosexual couple/mother, who could not or would not take of the child in the first place!

    No matter which way you look at it, Eastman’s statement doesn’t make any kind of sense to me.

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