Although there were some initial reservations among progressives over the nomination of U.S. judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace the outgoing David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court, progressives are reassured that Sotomayor, while not an activist in the mold of William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, is a staunch supporter of First and Fourth Amendment rights, including the right to privacy. Sotomayor's opinions on freedom of speech cases is also earning her praise from progressives.
Although ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and his committee colleague Lindsey Graham (R-SC) originally voiced strong reservations about President Obama's choice of Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, both conservative "family values" Republicans have had to back down from their original high visibility hostility to Sotomayor.
One of the reasons for the Republicans' change in demeanor is that Democratic opposition research made it known they were ready to pounce on both senators, re-elected in 2008, for hypocrisy on their gay rights policies.
WMR learned from a very well-informed source that it is well known among gay circles in Washington that Sessions and Graham are both closeted homosexuals. Sessions is married with three children while Graham is a bachelor who has never been married.
Sessions and Graham are aware that the Democrats have at their disposal the nuclear option of dropping the "G Bomb." After seeming to agree with the "Sotomayor is a racist" remarks coming from Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, the two influential Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee changed their tune, as did Gingrich a few days after he made his remarks about Sotomayor.
Sessions reported homosexuality fits a pattern for GOP Attorneys General in the state. Sessions, who served as Alabama's 44th Attorney General, was succeeded by William H. Pryor, Jr, now a member of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta and who, according to WMR's sources, is also a closeted gay man. Pryor was succeeded by Republican Troy King, also reported by a number of sources to be gay.
As the GOP drifts further under the control of the fundamentalist Christian right, any hint of homosexuality among top Republicans in Congress is seen as a political death sentence, especially after the Larry Craig and Mark Foley scandals. Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist also faces potential major opposition from Christian fundamentallists in his U.S. Senate run over rumors that he is also gay.
Another influential Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), said it was likely that Sotomayor will be confirmed by the Senate. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), not a member of the Judiciary Committee, voiced some misgivings about Sotomayor. Hatch is treading carefully while Collins is potentially playing with political fire. Both have to watch their own "closet doors," according to our sources on Capitol Hill.