Radar magazine has a great interview this week with Linda Greenhouse, who recently retired after 30 years of covering the Supreme Court for The New York Times.
It’s a long, wide-ranging interview, so I’d recommend reading the whole thing, but here’s one of the best bits: Greenhouse talking about the Court’s power to make the world better — particularly in terms of advancing gay rights. She refers here to the Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas to strike down a law that essentially made it a crime to be gay.
I talk about gay rights quite a lot as a marker of how much better off we are. I believe that very strongly. I think that was probably the most gripping scene I ever witnessed at the Court—when Kennedy read the majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas. Usually, when you go up to the Court, you don’t know what’s coming that day. But it was the last day of the term, and Lawrence was the last undecided case. So everybody knew, and the Court was filled with gay and lesbian members of the Supreme Court bar. When Kennedy got to where he said Bowers v. Hardwick was wrong when it was decided, it’s wrong today, and we hereby overrule it, all these lawyers in the bar section started crying. It was just a wonderful scene. It was great.
Judith Schaeffer, our former legal director, wrote a great reflection on Lawrence v. Texas this past June, on the five-year anniversary of the landmark decision. Read it here.