Legal cases involving the rights and treatment of gay people are on the increase, Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor said Thursday, suggesting a major new focus for the nation's courts in the
21st century. Asked to predict what issue might define the work of the Supreme Court in the 21st century, O'Connor said that cases "relating to how homosexuals are treated legally" are one possibility. "We see a lot of these," O'Connor said. She did not mention the Texas sodomy case now before the high court. The court is considering whether states may ban sex acts for gays and lesbians that are legal for heterosexuals.
O'Connor was answering questions as part of a monthlong educational series televised by C-SPAN. She also tackled the subject of race and the issue of terrorism. Justice Clarence Thomas is scheduled to make a similar appearance on May 20 as part of the cable station's program to bring politicians, journalists, judges, and others to schools around Washington, D.C.