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Re: SCOTUS Rel⁠i⁠g⁠i⁠ous D⁠i⁠vers⁠i⁠⁠t⁠y

By: The James Madison Institute / May 11, 2010

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May 11, 2010

By Robert F. Sanchez, JMI Policy Director
If the U.S. Senate confirms President Obama’s choice of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, it will mark two firsts: Never before has the Court convened with three female justices and without a single Protestant member. Instead, when the Court begins its new term next October, it would have six Catholics and three Jews.On the one hand, this is a tribute to the achievements Catholics and Jews, two groups whose path to success during much of America’s history was blocked by blatant discrimination and ugly bigotry. Moreover, recent experience with current and previous Catholic and Jewish justices tells us that members of neither group vote as a monolithic bloc, even on cases that involve a religious element.On the other hand, at a time when “diversity” is the watchword of critics demanding a rough proportionality of gender, race, and ethnicity in appointments to each and every public entity, the absence of a broad religious diversity seems odd – especially since people’s religious faith is so often a determinative factor in the formation of their personal and political philosophies and their general outlook on life.As the Senate carries out its Constitutional duty to scrutinize this nomination, Ms. Kagan’s religious affiliation properly will be less of a concern than her judicial philosophy. Even so, it is a bit ironic that a President whose election was hailed by the proponents of diversity has chosen to ignore this particular aspect of it.