Kagan interviewed for Supreme seat

Several media organizations reported Saturday that President Obama interviewed Solicitor General Elena Kagan for a possible nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited only “an administration official,” the president interviewed Kagan on Friday.

The official told the Journal that the President has already interviewed two other candidates: Judge Sidney Thomas on April 29 and Judge Merrick Garland earlier in the month.

Kagan was dean of Harvard Law School before Obama appointed her as Solicitor General to represent the U.S. before the Supreme Court. The position is nicknamed the “10th justice” for that reason. She is probably the most gay friendly of the three, having defended, while dean, a non-discrimination policy that barred military recruiters because of their discrimination against gays. She clerked for one of the Supreme Court’s staunchest liberals, Thurgood Marshall, and was a research assistant for one of one of the greatest legal defenders of gay civil rights, Laurence Tribe.

Single and 50, she was the subject of a CBS News website blog report last month which claimed that, if named to the court, she would be the “first openly gay justice.” Kagan has not identified with any sexual orientation publicly, and the White House moved quickly to say the report was “inaccurate.”

Judge Thomas is a federal appeals court judge on the 9th Circuit, having been appointed to the position by President Clinton in 1995. On the bench, he dissented from a decision that said it was permissible for San Francisco police to do strip searches and body cavity searches of all arrested persons—even those arrested for non-violent acts of vandalism during a gay pride event. He agreed with the full circuit’s refusal to hear a school district’s appeal of a decision that found it unconstitutional for a school to bar a gay student from wearing a gay pride t-shirt.

Judge Garland served on the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals alongside John Roberts Jr. before he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Garland was also a Clinton appointee and was a clerk for another of the Supreme Court’s best-known liberals, William Brennan. He’s the most conservative of the potential candidates. He joined a decision that upheld a gay Navy man’s discharge even though two discharge boards said there was insufficient evidence to merit discharge. Garland joined a decision that upheld a Federal Communications Commission action against the operator of a low-power radio broadcaster serving the gay community. And he joined then D.C. Circuit Judge John Roberts Jr. in a decision rejecting police liability for misconduct by officers who sprayed a chemical deterrent on members of a pro-gay protest group during President George W. Bush’s first inaugural parade.

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