Kagan Hearings Kick Off On Monday: Thanks to Prawfs Blawg, a group blog maintained by a bunch of guys teaching in law schools around the United States, we have the witness list for the Elena Kagan hearings that start tomorrow at 12:30 (hat tip.). While they will begin with the senators going on record at tedious length ("life begins at conception, yack, yack, yack") as if we and their constituents did not already know what they thought, testimonies to tune in for might be Lily Ledbetter, the litigant in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire (2007), called by the majority; and Stephen Presser, legal historian from Northwestern, called by the minority. Presser, who mostly writes about corporate law, can also be expected to speculate on how Kagan's confirmation to the court would affect the future of Roe and the rulings associated with it. The rest of the witnesses are pretty boilerplate, if you ask me, although the large number of military and ex-military called by the Republicans suggest they plan to bring up the scrap about military recruiters at Harvard Law School, probably as an attempt to grandstand a little about the impending repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Go here for the official web cast.
We know that Kagan will be confirmed, and resistance will only be token: she may go down in history as the SCOTUS nominee no one on the right or the left really got excited about. Kagan's own opening statement would be spiced up if she uses the lesbian drama around her nomination to take a stance on ending discrimination against queer people more generally; and since Perry v. Schwarzenegger will be boarding the train to the Supreme Court there could be interesting moments around that. But I doubt that either of these things will happen. The Republicans seem to be hinting by their silence that this one is a slam dunk. I follow Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) Twitter feed and even he has not rattled his sword about the nomination lately.
So if you want to skip the whole thing and watch Wimbledon and the World Cup, go right ahead. Blame me if you miss the historic moment where Hatch changes his mind on school prayer, affirmative action and a woman's right to choose; or if the Committee announces that they are canceling the hearings and making a range of top-flight legal minds compete on a new reality show called "America's Got Law" instead.
Gay Pride March in NYC Kicks Off at 12:00 P.M. Today: For those of you who just think you know what you are doing, the route is shorter this year, beginning at 36th street. Interestingly, this also takes St.Patrick's Cathedral, where it is traditional that anti-gay trogladytes stand with signs telling queers they are going to hell, and queer marchers shout "Sham! Shame! Shame!"off the line of march. Interesting, no?
As the past couple of posts have revealed, celebrating gay pride is not a radical political act by any means, and in some quarters is perceived as reactionary. However, if you are just coming out it can feel pretty cool anyway. However, don't look for instructions about what to do during or after the march on the Heritage of Pride website. This organization of businesspeople that has turned the celebration of the Stonewall Riots into a megabucks event needs to hire a few tech people because their website is melting down this morning. But if you go, have fun, hydrate frequently, and pick up after yourselves please: the last time I was in the Village after the march I had never seen such a disgusting mess.
My favorite gay pride moment bar none? Years ago, I gathered with a whole bunch of friends to march, and one of us was having a clandestine affair with a closeted corporate attorney who ran legal for a large media conglomerate. It was closets within closets, baby. Anyway, hormones being what they were -- and people who live in the closet being what they are -- this lesbian was very nervous about participating, but was ultimately persuaded that of the hundreds of thousands of people marching she would never, ever in a trillion years be spotted by anyone she knew from the network or by her equally closeted, but far better disciplined, girlfriend. So off we go, milling about, chanting and having a great time, and around 25th street or so I hear someone yelling, and it turns out to be a New York Times photographer who was going out with my dissertation advisor at Potemkin University. All the Potemkin graduate students waved and hollered, and we marched on by.
You are already guessing what happened, dear reader. The next day the telephone rang at around 7:30, and it was the Mother of the Radical (MOTheR) calling to say that my picture was in the New York Times! Right on the front of Metro section! I rushed into the hall to get the paper and yup, there we were, with Closety Custard right in the middle.