The XX Factor

Did Obama Announce the SCOTUS Nominee to Distract Us from Prop 8?

With all this talk of Sotomayor, we’ve neglected the other big story from yesterday: Proposition 8 was upheld in California . Maybe this makes me a cynic, or even close to a conspiracy theorist, but I wonder if Obama deliberately announced her nomination yesterday so that Sotomayor would dominate the news cycle, and he wouldn’t be forced to comment on the gay marriage ban.

Obama has been relatively mum about gay marriage recently. According to a New York Times article from earlier this month:

While Mr. Obama has said he is “open to the possibility” that his views on same-sex marriage are misguided, he has offered no signal that he intends to change his position … Anything substantive he might say on same-sex marriage-after the Iowa ruling, the White House put out a statement saying the president “respects the decision”-would be endlessly parsed. If Mr. Obama were to embrace same-sex marriage, he would be seen as reversing a campaign position and alienating some moderate and religious voters he has courted.

What do you think, ladies? Was the announcement of Sotomayor timed so that Obama could ignore the California conundrum, or was it a coincidence? Tobias Wolff, a law professor and Obama’s campaign advisor on gay rights, told the Times about Obama’s gay-marriage stance: “I think [Obama] has a genuine sense … that in order to move these issues forward you need broader buy-in than you are going to get if you poke a stick in too many people’s eyes.” But is he pulling the wool over those eyes instead?