The XX Factor

To Be Middle-Aged, Jewish, and Straight

Were any of you discouraged to find that Elena Kagan’s friends have stepped up to out her as a heterosexual ? I agree with Slate sters Will Saletan , Emily Bazelon , Dahlia Lithwick , and Hanna Rosin that that Kagan’s sexuality is irrelevant. One of the most intriguing things about her is that her friends and colleagues adore her but also find her deeply enigmatic. They don’t seem to know much about her beliefs or her private life. So it seems somewhat sad that they now feel compelled to give evidence that she dated men, discussed who was cute, and might have been asked out by Eliot Spitzer in college save for the fact that she’s not his type. David Souter managed to become a justice despite being a lifelong bachelor who lived with his mother. And as Hanna points out, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who’s what used to be called “a confirmed bachelor,” is unlikely to press this question at the confirmation hearings. On The Colbert Report last night, Stephen Colbert’s schtick on the rumors about Kagan’s sexuality sent up the whole business (and Dahlia cleverly evaded his trap! ). I just wish Kagan had decided to remain sphinx-like about this, instead of authorizing friends to testify to her interest in men.

And while I agree that it’s striking that if Kagan is confirmed the court will be made up of Catholics and Jews, I can’t believe Kathleen Parker is serious when she writes that a Baptist girl who likes ballet and hopes someday to be a Supreme Court justice can forget about it. (Although anyone who thinks Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides is “magnificent” is capable of saying anything.)

Photograph of Elena Kagan by Alex Wong/Getty Images.