As reflected in the tone of this earlier post, Article III Groupie is getting just a wee bit tired of all the speculation over whether Judge John G. Roberts might be gay. A3G was hoping to turn her attention to more weighty matters within the world of judicial gossip -- such as whether Judge Maryanne Trump Barry (3d Cir.) approves of Melania Knauss, the new wife of Judge Barry's little brother, Donald Trump.*
But the people have spoken: they want to hear even more about whether Judge Roberts might be gay. And A3G, as a responsible gossip columnist, believes in giving the people what they want!
Why does A3G think the public harbors a continuing interest in Judge Roberts's possible homosexuality? Well, traffic to her blog spiked after she issued her "Is John Roberts gay?" post. She received an avalanche of reader email in response to her ruminations (which she's still in the middle of processing). And she collected great links from a number of popular and well-known blogs, including some gay blogs and a French blog! (No, they're not the same thing...)
The blogs that picked up her post include, but are not limited to, the following (be sure to click through and check them out; there's some great stuff here):
--Wonkette ("The three least likely people in the world to want, uhm, pie, no?");
--Althouse ("It's just three men with a pie... and a mustache... and a glow.");
--Towleroad: "A Blog With Homosexual Tendencies" ("I see no hard, cold information to support any argument that Roberts might be gay (aside from perhaps a compelling characterization of Peppermint Patty in his all-male high school production).");
--Boi From Troy ("[W]earing a '70's style moustache in the 1970's was about as gay as wearing bellbottoms was, in the 1970's. My convictions on John Roberts' sexuality are clear -- he's a breeder.");
--A l'heure américaine, a French blog -- click here for the unintentionally hilarious English translation ("Would John Roberts, the judge that Bush named at the Supreme Court to defend the family values there, actually be gay? OK, they is a little large, and to tell the truth, nobody really believes in it. But the assumption, so tasty, makes the joy of the cauldron-with-rumours which is Washington.")
Okay, back to the question of the hour: Is Judge John G. Roberts now, or has he ever been, a member of the Circuit Party?
Judge Roberts's confirmation hearings start on September 6, but don't expect the Senate Judiciary Committee to shed any light on this mystery. After all, the senators will be preoccupied with asking Judge Roberts a bunch of "dumb-ass questions."
A digression: If you haven't seen them already, check out the hilarious results of Howard Bashman's contest "to identify the most dumb-ass question that could possibly be asked of U.S. Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts, Jr. at his upcoming confirmation hearings." A3G's favorite response, by Melinda Eades LeMoine of the super-elite Munger, Tolles & Olsen: "Judge Roberts, say a case comes before the court, let's call it, um... Woe v. Rade..."
So, since the senators will be preoccupied with boring stuff -- like abortion, stare decisis, and the dormant Commerce Clause -- don't count on them to focus on what really counts: whether Judge Roberts bats for the other team. Don't expect Senator Patrick Leahy to assume the role of Jackie from Playing It Straight: "Judge Roberts... Before you go [to the Senate floor], I have to know: Are you gay, or are you straight?" Don't hold your breath waiting for Senator Chuck Schumer to hook up Judge Roberts to a genital arousal sensor -- which might be the only sure way to get to the bottom of the Robertsian sexual orientation.
Unaided by the Senate's investigatory powers, all we can do is speculate about whether Judge Roberts might be gay. And since you crass people want her to speculate, fine, Article 3 Groupie will speculate. After all, engaging in baseless speculation is what she does best!
When she issued her prior post on Judge Roberts's sexuality, A3G was basically agnostic on the question of his possible gayness. Then she came across a fabulously funny blog -- how did she manage to miss it? -- called Conservative Bloggers Who Support The Gay Judge Roberts ("CBWSTGJR"). (CBWSTGJR, by the way, is the source of the lovely image above of Judge Roberts holding a banana.)
As explained in CBWSTGJR's inaugural post, "This Blog is being established to support a Blog Community of right-of-center conservative and libertarian leaning Blogs that support Judge Roberts, even if he is gay... Now we want to be perfectly clear: we aren't saying that Judge Roberts is gay. But if he is, we still support him. We hope you will too."
(WOW -- A3G would be a perfect fit for this community! After all, she's a right-of-center blogger who supports Judge Roberts's nomination to the Supreme Court, even if he might be gay. A3G expects to submit her application shortly.)
So A3G read this post at CBWSTGJR, which makes the following, very valid observation about the various Roberts-authored documents that have been released to the media over the past few weeks: "Judging by the number of sharp-edged quips that seem to have rolled off our boy's pen... Well! he's positively bitchy!" As evidence, the post cites John Roberts's catty comments about Michael Jackson, in a memo he wrote while in the White House Counsel's office. It also points out his suspicious interest in White House china patterns (originally noted by Wonkette).
While humorous, the CBWSTGJR post raises a legitimate point. As his paper trail reflects, the young John Roberts had a sarcastic writing style and a snarky sense of humor that, when exhibited in men, are strongly associated with a gay sensibility. (Before the "P.C. police" among you get on A3G's case over what she means by "a gay sensibility," and accuse her of promoting an unjustified stereotype of gay men as being catty and witty, etc., please read Susan Sontag's brilliant essay, Notes on Camp.)
After reading the post, A3G thought to herself: "My goodness! How on earth could a man who is this catty, and this bitchy, actually be heterosexual? John Roberts has got to be gay!"
But then Article 3 Groupie asked herself: "If Judge Roberts wins confirmation to the SCOTUS and the protection of life tenure, liberating him to take down his polite facade and revert to his youthful cheekiness, would he be the cattiest, bitchiest denizen of One First Street?" And she had to answer that question with a resounding no. Justice Roberts would still come in a distant second on the "snark-o-meter" -- to Justice Antonin Scalia! And the record evidence leaves no room for doubt over Justice Scalia's heterosexual bona fides.**
The example of Justice Scalia suggests that a judge's prose style is a highly unreliable guide to his sexual orientation. Despite his brilliant, uber-catty opinions (which A3G adores) -- as well as his love for the opera, his penchant for wearing wigs, and his appearance on a gay porn site -- no one would ever accuse Nino of being a "friend of Judge Wardlaw."
For further evidence dispelling the notion that we can divine a judge's sexual preference from his writing style, consider Justice David H. Souter. Could a judge's writing style be any less gay? As accurately stated by Edward Whelan (OT 1991/Scalia), "Souter’s only arguable saving grace as a Justice has been a prose style so impenetrable that his opinions often verge on the incomprehensible." [Tasteless joke involving "impenetrable" prose style and K-Y Jelly mercifully omitted.]
Thus, after favoring the "John Roberts is gay" hypothesis for a while, the pendulum now appears to be "swinging the other way." Indeed, Article 3 Groupie has gotten lots of email from heterosexual readers seeking to reclaim Judge Roberts as one of their own, trying to pry the SCOTUS nominee free from the limp-wristed grip of the gays.***
For example, check out this email from a reader, who believes Judge Roberts to be straight based on face-to-face contact with him:
I got to meet and argue before Judge Roberts when he came down to Columbia, South Carolina, to judge mock oral arguments at the National Advocacy Center (where federal government lawyers go for continuing legal education). Although I'm a straight man, I was struck by how handsome he is. In fact, I was the person who compared him to the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., when I nominated him as a hot judge in your judicial beauty contest.
Based on my (admittedly brief) interactions with Judge Roberts, I have to say that I'm surprised by all the speculation over his sexual orientation. When I met Judge Roberts, he did not set off my "gaydar" -- not in the slightest. I don't want to be impolitic or un-P.C., but he is not stereotypically "gay" in his bearing, gestures, manner of speaking, etc.
Does Judge Roberts dress well? Yes. Is he well-groomed? Most definitely. Does he get the occasional facial or manicure? Probably. But I think he is, at most, metrosexual. He's mild-mannered, but in a "good Catholic schoolboy" way, not in a "I'm a big ol' gay" way. Can't we just leave this (straight) man in peace?
And now consider this message, from someone in an even better position to know "what floats the judicial boat" -- a longtime acquaintance of Judge Roberts, who moves in the same elite social circle of D.C. legal eagles:
[M]y "firm" view as to John Roberts -- based on pretty occasional and casual contact, [but] over 20 years -- is that there is NO reason to question his orientation.
Ya gotta remember that in the '70's and early '80's, if you were a law nerd, there were not all that many women law nerds around to bandy about legal bon mots with. I suspect that has changed for your generation. I don't know if that contributed to John's longtime single status, but it certainly played a role in mine. Throw in his deep Catholic beliefs and workaholic law nerditude and prudential unwillingness to date women he met in the workplace, and it is no wonder that he took some time to meet Jane.
As I recall, [former D.C. Circuit nominee] Miguel Estrada [OT 1998/Kennedy] met his (tragically late) wife only because Justice Kennedy was actively matchmaking.****
So please, A3G, cut us law nerds some slack!
Very interesting! A3G thanks her reader for this most insightful report.
In conclusion, after giving careful consideration to the evidence on both sides, Article Three Groupie must join Wonkette and the Boi From Troy -- among many others -- in concluding Judge Roberts is (probably) straight. In any event, there is insufficient evidence to find that John Roberts is gay beyond a reasonable doubt. To paraphrase the late Johnnie Cochran: "If the leather pants don't fit, you must acquit!"
* "The Maryanne" was not a fan of Melania's immediate predecessor, Marla Maples. As noted here by Rush & Molloy (scroll down), the Maryanne "implored Marble Collegiate Church's Rev. Arthur Caliandro not to marry Trump and Marla Maples 'because the marriage wouldn't last.'" Since the Maryanne is a federal judge, of course she was right. If only she had issued an injunction to stop the wedding!
** Unlike Judge Roberts, Justice Scalia has oodles of biological children. Thus, regardless of whether Justice Scalia sodomizes his wife, there is irrebutable proof that he has consummated his marriage to Maureen Scalia -- over (Ann Forrest), and over (Eugene), and over (John Francis), and over (Catherine Elisabeth), and over (Mary Clare), and over (Paul David), and over (Matthew), and over (Christopher James), and over (Margaret Jane) again...
If this is already more than you care to think about -- hopefully you're not reading UTR on your lunch break! -- now consider this bonus question: What kind of underwear does Justice Scalia wear?
Dahlia Lithwick suggests that AS is partial to "blue Superman tights under the robe." But A3G respectfully dissents: she sees Scalia in tighty-whiteys, with his wife-beater tucked in underneath the elastic waistband.
Oh, and by the way, Justice Scalia is now interviewing candidates to serve as his October Term 2006 law clerks. So if you were hoping to play in Justice Scalia's jurisprudential rock band, "The Originalists," but haven't gotten that phone call yet... well, better luck next year!
**** A3G recently came across some interesting information about the toll that the judicial confirmation battle took on the Kid from Tegucigalpa and his late wife, Laurie Estrada. In this New Yorker profile of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Elsa Walsh wrote:
For [Karl] Rove, the most painful example [of a Republican nominee filibustered by the Democrats] was Miguel Estrada, who had worked in the Solicitor General's office, and who was Bush's first appellate-court nominee, in 2001. Estrada withdrew his name twenty-eight months after being nominated.
During the confirmation struggle, Estrada's wife miscarried; in November, 2004, she died, of an overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills. The death was ruled accidental by the medical examiner. Rove said that Mrs. Estrada had been traumatized by the nastiness of the process.
With Judge Roberts's confirmation hearings less than two weeks away, A3G urges the Democrats to give Judge Roberts a more respectful reception than they gave to a number of the filibustered Bush nominees. While nasty confirmation battles certainly make for great theater -- which A3G admittedly has a weakness for -- they can also have deeply unfortunate consequences. (For some excellent reflections on the subject, check out this Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by Mrs. Virginia Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.)