The current Supreme Court consists of:
And if Justice John Paul Stevens retires next year — he probably will — the sole Protestant would be gone.
Dahlia Lithwick at Slate asks why it’s uncouth to talk about the religious makeup of the Supreme Court:
… We talk about the need for race and gender diversity on the court in brave, sweeping pronouncements: The court needs more women, we say, or more Asians, or more gay and disabled people. Because all those things will impact the law. But when it comes to talking about religious diversity, it happens in whispers, if at all. Because it might impact the law. For a small handful of Americans, the fact that six of the nine justices on the current court are Catholics is an underreported national scandal. But for most, it’s just quirky news.
Even in her article, there’s no mention of potential atheist judges, but it would be nice to have a representative on the court, wouldn’t it? Or maybe it wouldn’t matter — atheists have won and lost cases in the Supreme Court regardless of the religious affiliations of the judges.
It’s tough to have nine people serve as an accurate representation of the whole country — there are bound to be distortions in some category or another. Which label do you try to fill next? Woman? Minority? GLBT? Atheist?
Do you think it matters at all if the judges are supposed to weigh cases with no regard for their personal religious beliefs?
(Thanks to Brett for the link!)