LGBT Judges

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5 Responses

  1. Jim Maloney says:

    It’s probably fear of the appointment and confirmation process that keeps most federal candidates in the closet. I’m probably not going out on a limb by saying that a Republican President appointing an openly LGBT judge is highly unlikely. By the same token, it’s not hard to imagine losing a confirmation because too many Senators were uncomfortable supporting an openly LGBT candidate. The stakes are much higher at the Court of Appeals and–of course–the Supreme Court level. So we have no openly LGBT federal appellate judges, and, relatedly, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule is largely alive and well in the federal judiciary.

  2. Doug B. says:

    Based on the listed names above, it would appear that female open LGBT judges are far more common than male LGBT judges. Relatedly, my friend and former co-clerk Danny Alter was poised to be the first openly gay man to get a nomination until the silly politics of nominations led the White House to back away. The issues that led to the withdrawal were not about LGBT directly, but it seemed to me part of the backstory.

    • Courtney Joslin says:

      Hi Doug. Thanks for your comment. The gender break down of the openly LGBT state supreme court justices is very interesting. Given how small the numbers are, however, it is difficult to know what to make of this. In addition, the information I cited in my original post is woefully incomplete. Currently, no one systematically gathers and keeps track of this information. There is a bill pending in California (SB 182) that would, in the words of the state LGBT lobby group: “ensure that voluntary data on the gender identity and sexual orientation of potential judges is gathered through the state’s Judicial Applicant Data report, alongside existing questions on gender and racial or ethnic identity.”

  3. KJ DINKBAG says:


  4. Glenn Cohen says:

    Great post Courtney. You may want to consider the way in which this plays into points made by Bill Rubenstein in The Myth of Superiority, 16 Constitutional Commentary 599 (1999), which I often teach (along wit The Myth of Parity) in first year Civ Pro.