Pundits are in an uproar probing Ms. Kagan’s sexual orientation, with some gay activists depressed that whatever her private life may be, it is still private and thus Obama failed to appoint an openly gay nominee such as Kathleen Sullivan or Pam Karlan. But while some Gay and Lesbian activists bemoan the “quality” of this appointments evangelicals in America continue to be shut out. Diversity means Black, Hispanics, women and gays, no one else need apply.
If she is confirmed, Elena Kagan will be the 112th Supreme Court Justice in American history and still not one evangelical Christian among them. Gallup statistics on the numbers of evangelicals in America range from 44%-49%.
To give you an idea of how exclusively power is concentrated in two tiny segments of the two national parties, the Democrats not only appoint liberals, they can’t even find an American outside of New York City. Bill Clinton appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg, born in Brooklyn, Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor, who grew up in the Bronx. And now the nominee of Elena Kagan, who has lived on both the East and West sides of Manhattan and whose mournful, senior college thesis was on the “decline of socialism in New York in the 20th Century.” (She must be feeling much better about that nowadays.)
We can say that women are increasingly represented on the court. Reagan appointed the first one. Now there are three. And thankfully we are not anti-Semitic, with Kagan there will now be two Jews. And we are certainly pro Catholic. Sonia Sotomayor became the sixth Catholic currently sitting on the Supreme Court. There are only three who are not Catholic.
The spat among Gay and Lesbian bloggers is reminiscent of the conservative battle over the Harriet Mier’s nomination. Miers was an evangelical Christian nominated by George W. Bush. The name was floated to the politically incompetent James Dobson who wouldn’t even endorse one of his own. Meanwhile, conservative Catholic commentators came to their senses, recognized that they were being outflanked by the White House and had a public fit. Bill Bennett was appalled by the nomination. Ann Coulter raged. Ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Sam Brownback, was stunned. “Who is she? I don’t know her.” And all of them Catholic, were hosted on national television by Catholics, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, who urged the president to withdraw the “born again” Harriet Miers and replace her with a true conservative, presumably one that regularly attends the G. K. Chesterton Association meetings with Ed Feulner. The White House dutifully obeyed, withdrew Miers and submitted the Catholic, Samuel Alito to follow the Bush Catholic nominee, John Roberts.
Evangelicals are not the only group to be excluded from the high court. There has not been a Mormon nominated. But evangelicals surely comprise the largest block of Americana to be excluded. Liberals are quick to point out that there should be no “religious test” for government office and indeed that is the point that evangelicals make. If no such test existed how have they been excluded?
As to Ms. Kagan? Gay and Lesbians would be wise learn the lesson of Harriet Miers and to leave the process alone. George W. Bush was trying to do his own supporters a favor, if they had been smart enough to recognize it and Barack Obama may be doing the same now for one of his constituencies. “Trust me,” was the signal Bush was sending to Dobson. But the evangelicals are so unused to power that they couldn’t grasp it and so lost their moment. Gay and Lesbians should learn a lesson and leave the Kagan nomination on track.
Note: For a better understanding of the differences between the “born again” vote and the “evangelical vote” see “The History of the Evangelical Vote in Presidential Elections.”