Posted on May 14, 2010
by David Cohen

A MESSAGE FROM  HRC PRESIDENT JOE SOLMONESE

“We are confident that Elena Kagan has a demonstrated understanding and commitment to protecting the liberty and equality of all Americans, including LGBT Americans” said Joe Solmonese.
    The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today hailed President Obama’s selection of United States Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the nominee for the opening on the United States Supreme Court created by the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.
    “We applaud President Obama for choosing Elena Kagan to become our nation’s next U.S. Supreme Court Justice,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “The U.S. Supreme Court decides cases that intimately affect the lives of all Americans. We are confident that Elena Kagan has a demonstrated understanding and commitment to protecting the liberty and equality of all Americans, including LGBT Americans.”
    Issues that are critical to the LGBT community may reach the Supreme Court in the next few years, including issues related to marriage equality, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the new federal hate crimes law.    When issues like these come to the Supreme Court, it is vital that we have fair-minded judges to rule on these cases.
    In addition, we commend President Obama for his commitment to diversity and expanding the number of women on the Court. Diversity on the Court brings a broader view of the way that the law affects real people, including LGBT people. Once confirmed, Elena Kagan would be the fourth woman to serve on our nation’s highest court and would be the third woman sitting on the current Supreme Court, marking the highest representation of women on the Court in its history.
    Elena Kagan will bring extensive legal experience and a strong background as a previously Senate-confirmed government official to the nation’s highest court. As Solicitor General in the Obama Administration, as a former legal advisor on domestic policy in the Clinton Administration and as the former Dean of Harvard Law School, Elena Kagan has demonstrated a commitment to fairness and equality. Specifically, we applaud Elena Kagan’s vocal opposition to the Solomon Amendment and the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
    HRC will continue examining the record of Elena Kagan on issues that affect the LGBT community. Moreover, we look forward to the Senate’s thorough examination of Elena Kagan’s judicial philosophy and record. To learn more about federal judicial nominations and to follow our work on these crucial issues visit HRC’s Equality in the Courts page.

HRC defines a fair-minded judge as a person who demonstrates:
  • A commitment to full equality under law for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans;
  • individuals living with HIV and AIDS; women; people with disabilities and racial, ethnic, and religious minorities;
  • A commitment to the constitutional right to privacy and individual liberty, including the right of two
  • consenting adults to enter into consensual intimate relationships;
  • A respect for the constitutional authority of Congress to promote equality and civil rights and provide statutory remedies for discrimination and violence;
  • A sophisticated understanding of and commitment to the separation of church and state and the protection of those citizens with minority religious views; and
  • A respect for state legislatures’ attempts to address discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity and other factors through carefully crafted legislation that meets the requirements of the Constitution.