Bench Memos

Re: Protestants Losing the Diversity Game for Supreme Court Justices?

As a follow-up to my recent post on possible clamoring for the next Supreme Court nominee to be a Protestant, I’ll highlight this passage from Adam Liptak’s “Supreme Court Memo” in last Friday’s New York Times:

Justice O’Connor was asked about the lack of geographical diversity on the court, and she answered with a surprising non sequitur.

“I don’t think they should all be of one faith,” she said, “and I don’t think they should all be from one state.”

With the addition of Justice Sotomayor, there are now six Roman Catholics on the court. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer are Jewish. Not so long ago, there was casual talk of a “Jewish seat” and a “Catholic seat” on the court.

“Now we have a single ‘Protestant seat,’” said Jeffrey A. Segal, who teaches political science at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. “It belongs to John Paul Stevens, and he is 89.”