“You show me a 50-foot wall and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder at the border. That’s the way the border works.”
In 1991, while a partner at Lewis and Roca LLP, Napolitano served as an attorney for Anita Hill. Anita Hill testified in the U.S. Senate that then U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her ten years earlier when she was his subordinate at the federal EEOC.
Napolitano is an avid basketball fan and regularly plays tennis and softball.
Napolitano has never married or had children; as a result, there has been speculation about her sexual orientation. This included some campaign activity in 2002 when "vote gay" fliers were posted next to her campaign signs. She is not gay, she has said, "just a straight, single workaholic".
In July 2012, Napolitano was accused of allowing discrimination against male staffers within the Department of Homeland Security. The federal discrimination lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, was filled by James Hayes Jr. who is presently a special agent of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in New York City. The suit alleges that Dora Schriro and Suzanne Barr mistreated male staffers and promotions were given to women who were friends of Napolitano, and when the abuse was reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity office, that Napolitano launched a series of misconduct investigations against the reporting party, Hayes. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's spokesman stated that he would not comment on "unfounded claims".
Suzanne Barr, who was one of Napolitano's first appointments after she became secretary in 2009, went on leave after Hayes filed his lawsuit and then resigned on September 1, 2012. Although she called the allegations in the lawsuit "unfounded", others suggested that her resignation raised serious concerns regarding personnel and management practices at the Department of Homeland Security.
Here's some forgotten history: The University of California system had a series of financial scandals in the 2000s focusing on successive female chancellors (i.e., presidents) of UC Santa Cruz and $192,000 per year jobs for their special lady friends. When Santa Cruz chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood was promoted to the #2 job in the whole statewide system, provost, she was succeeded as chancellor by Denice Denton (who briefly became nationally celebrated for claiming to "speak truth to power" in the Larry Summers brouhaha).
A local Santa Cruz newspaper columnist noted that for years people in the know whispered about how "a powerful coterie of lesbians has gained power and influence within the UC system." He was immediately disciplined for mentioning something so uninteresting.
Another boring aspect of this nonstory that got deservedly little attention is that on June 24, 2006, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton, age 46, climbed to the roof of her lesbian lover's luxury 42-story apartment building in San Francisco and leapt to her death.