Last year, after Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced his retirement, speculation mounted about whether President Obama could potentially appoint the first openly gay Justice. Conservatives were unsure of how to respond to that possibility. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, initially indicated that he was open to the idea, but later backtracked, declaring that an openly gay nominee would be “a big concern.” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said such an appointment “would be a bridge too far right now.” With Justice John Paul Stevens now retiring, the question has been raised again. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) says he has to “think about” it before deciding:
Cornyn, a former Texas Supreme Court justice, was initially reluctant when asked if he would support an openly gay nominee — as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, said last year he might.
“I’d have to think about that,” he said. “As long as it doesn’t interfere with their job, it’s not a particular issue.”