Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens today submitted his letter of resignation to President Obama and at least one anonymous editor of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia was not too broken up about it. For a short period of time Friday evening, the Wikipedia article bearing the name of the Chicago native who rose to serve on the nation's highest court for the past 35 years appeared as seen in the attached screen shot.
A few moments of internet research will quickly reveal that, to the world's knowledge, there has never been a gay or lesbian member of the United States Supreme Court -- not to say there hasn't been speculation. Interestingly enough, since the news of Associate Justice Steven's retirement broke today, there has been a fair amount of buzz around the web regarding whether President Obama's forthcoming nomination could be the first homosexual appointed to the court. Gay rights group were sorely disappointed when President Obama did not pick an openly gay man or woman to serve as a member of his cabinet. Although he did appoint two lesbians to lower court positions, it appears that sexual orientation may not be among the diversity factors the President is actively considering when making high-level appointments.
Over Justice Stevens' Supreme Court tenure, his political positions have slowly morphed from moderately conservative in his early years to staunchly liberal this past decade. His left-leaning views on gay rights, abortion rights and federalism have even earned him the moniker "Chief Justice of the Liberal Supreme Court", although he personally feels his positions have remained mainly unchanged while the makeup of the court around him has shifted far to the right. Going forward, one thing is sure: both those who support him and those who are content to see him leave will eagerly await the news of his appointed replacement during this election year.