Religious Diversity on the Supreme Court

Pat Buchanan stirred up some controversy by objecting to the idea of having 3 Jews on the Supreme Court. Elena Kagan would join Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If diversity is desired, why have Jews, who comprise 2% of the US population, control 33% of the seats on the Supreme Court?

I’m not sure what I think of that. Processing.

Buchanan points out that of the last 7 justices nominated by Democrats, going back to Kennedy, 1 was black (Marshall), 1 was Puerto Rican (Sotomayor), and the other five were Jews (Goldberg, Fortas, Ginsberg, Breyer, and now Kagan).

Hmmmm. Buchanan regularly stands up for the persecuted American male WASP. He’s not a crazy man for doing so. But it’s sure not politically correct. Which is his point.

The current court has six Catholics, 1 Protestant, and 2 Jews.

  • John Roberts–Catholic
  • Stephen G. Breyer–Jewish
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg–Jewish
  • Anthony M. Kennedy–Catholic
  • Antonin Scalia–Catholic
  • John Paul Stevens–Protestant
  • Clarence Thomas–Catholic
  • Samuel Alito–Catholic
  • Sonya Sotomayor–Catholic

Do we need that many Catholics? How about an evangelical? Someone who represents me. If not an evangelical, I’ll settle for a Mormon (who make up almost as much of the population as Jews). George Bush could have gone for an evangelical. Instead, he took the Path of Least Resistance by settling for two while male Catholics. Boring!

It’s hard to determine how large the evangelical population is, because we get lumped in with all-purpose Protestants. But evangelicals make up at least 20% of the population. Would it be impossible to confirm an evangelical to the Supreme Court, because of the pro-life stand which almost inevitably accompanies the label? (Doesn’t seem to stop Catholics from getting confirmed.)

I find it interesting that David Souter, one of the 4 (out of 111) Justices who was unmarried, was replaced by an unmarried woman. Souter never married; Sotomayor is divorced. “Unmarried” is a demographic group.

For that matter, at least 10% of Americans claim no religious affiliation; a growing chunk are atheists. Should they have a voice? It might be harder to confirm an atheist than an evangelical.

I’m not sure what I think of all of this, and whether demographic diversity should be the goal when it comes to the Supreme Court. Above all, I want qualified, sharp people. I liked adding a female Hispanic, though it didn’t need to be Sotomayor. I like the idea of adding yet another woman, though it doesn’t need to be Kagan. How about a woman who is an evangelical?

Just throwing out some evolving thoughts.

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