"Obama will nominate U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan to serve as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, NBC News’ Pete Williams reported late Sunday night. Kagan, 50, served as the Dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009. Obama nominated her to serve in her current post as solicitor general early in 2009, and she won Senate confirmation by a vote of 61-31. She is the first woman to serve as solicitor general of the United States. She was widely viewed as a front-runner when Obama was considering candidates for a Supreme Court opening last year, but the president ultimately chose Sonia Sotomayor for the job."
Politico's Mike Allen was then first to report the news over the weekend: "President Obama considers her to be a persuasive, fearless advocate who would serve as an intellectual counterweight to Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia, and could lure swing Justice Kennedy into some coalitions."
If confirmed, this would make the first time three women served on the Court at the same time.
The former Harvard Law School dean and clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall has a fairly strong record on LGBT issues. In May 2009 when her name was floated as a replacement for retiring Justice David Souter, Campus Progress reported:
"Her most significant work is on the Solomon Amendment, legislation that withholds federal funds from colleges and universities when they ban military recruiters because the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy conflicts with many universities’ antidiscrimination policies. As dean, Kagan supported a lawsuit intended to overturn the legislation so military recruiters might be banned from the grounds of schools like Harvard. When a federal appeals court ruled the Pentagon could not withhold funds, she banned the military from Harvard’s campus once again. The case was challenged in the Supreme Court, which ruled the military could indeed require schools to allow recruiters if they wanted to receive federal money. Kagan, though she allowed the military back, simultaneously urged students to demonstrate against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Throughout the controversy, Kagan maintained contact with Harvard Law School’s LGBT community. She attended a meeting of the student group Lambda and spoke with its leaders. Kagan has shown her commitment to advocating for LGBT rights, and it seems clear that Kagan’s experience battling Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on campus demonstrates she understands the needs of Harvard Law’s gay and lesbian community."
However: When Kagan was confirmed as Solicitor General, she was specifically asked about marriage equality. "In written follow-ups to the confirmation hearing, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) asked Ms. Kagan if the Constitution provided for gay marriage," reports adds the Wall Street Journal. " 'There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage,' she responded. She added that she didn't recall ever expressing an opinion on whether there should be such a right."
Since the Souter replacement search, there has been numerous discussion and speculation about Kagan's sexuality in the mainstream media. (They can easily be found via Google.) This follows a number of academics, progressives and LGBT activists who also spoke to this, some having known her from Harvard. In mid April, the White House forcefully rejected this narrative after CBSNews.com lead with a story that Kagan's nomination would make her "the first openly gay justice." CBS pulled the story and the White House later called this a "false charge."
In any event, Kagan's positions on LGBT issues are cautiously reassuring.