Thursday, August 12, 2010

Religion and the Supreme Court

I received the following from a friend and thought it interesting enough to try and get some feed back.

Now that Elena Kagan has been confirmed on our nation's high court, for the first time in its history, the US Supreme court is: devoid of Protestants.

Kagan is Jewish, as are Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Everyone of the other justices — Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Sonia Sotomayor — are Catholic. How did this situation come about in a country that was historically pretty much born of, and bred by, Protestants?

Amid the abundant number of articles and commentary on the new percentage of both women and liberals that are now on the Court now that Kagan has ascended to it, the utter lack of comment on the changed religious make-up of the court is far more interesting in and of itself. Why the lack of discussion on this topic? It is going unmarked.

What does the over-representation of Jews on the court tell us? Is it as significant as the over-representatrion of men has been, for instance?

What does the lack of any protestant on the Court tell us, and is it significant? Are we as a country abandoning all our founding Calvinist thoughts? Are we subconsciously (or maybe even consciously) fleeing all things redneck? After all, WASP means "white anglo-saxon protestant."

The religious change-over that has taken place in the Supreme Court is an extremely interesting topic on many levels. I would love to see some discussion of it out there, but it may be like the proverbial "elephant in the room," and just way too big to mention.