Saturday, November 5

Sheep in Wolves' Clothing?

The chattering classes are struggling to make sense of reports that SCOTUS nominee Sam Alito, as a young student at Princeton University, helped author a 1971 report recommending the decriminalization of sodomy and a ban on anti-gay discrimination. Like investigations that turned up John Roberts supposedly "pro-gay" past, these stories lend credence to a plain fact of modern American life: educated people have, by and large, "gotten over" the gay thing.

I don't think either justice will overcome their ingrained deference to legislative supremacy to act strongly against anti-gay populism, especially on marriage. Rather, we are simply beyond an era when a high court judge could characterize the argument for gay equality as "facetious" (as Byron White infamously did in Bowers). Recall that even Clarence Thomas, in his Lawrence dissent, called the Texas sodomy law "uncommonly silly."

Justice Alito won't be manning the barricades any time soon. Yet it has to make the bigot brigade mighty uncomfortable to know they are so badly on the wrong side of history that even a conservatist jurist with such sterling credentials can't necessarily be "trusted" to join their retrograde battle against the homos. What a shame for them.