Bench Memos

Nina Totenberg on the Prospect of No Protestant Justices

NPR’s Nina Totenberg has an interesting story contemplating the possibility that, after Justice Stevens’s anticipated retirement, there may be not a single Protestant justice on the Court.  As she puts it in striking context:

Depending on the Stevens replacement, there may be no Protestants left on the court at all in a majority Protestant nation where, for decades and generations, all the justices were Protestant.

(I don’t know that Stevens would identify himself as a Protestant, but that’s conventionally how he’s labeled.) 

Here’s an interesting passage on Notre Dame history professor (and prominent evangelical thinker) Mark Noll’s thoughts on the matter:

“Is it a rebuke that there might be no Protestants on the Supreme Court?” he asks. “Indirectly, I suspect it would be.”

It would be a rebuke, he says, in terms of what Protestant identity means, and why there wasn’t a Protestant good enough to fill even a single Supreme Court seat.

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