Religion and the Court

May 26, 2009 9:46 a.m.

Whether or not Sotomayor would be the first Hispanic Justice on the Supreme Court she would be the sixth Catholic currently serving on the current Court, which is perhaps best to say quietly extraordinary, given that as recently as few decades ago they were comparatively rare. A recent Pew poll says that 31.4% of U.S. adults say they were raised Catholic and 23.9% consider themselves Catholic. (There was some question about whether Sotomayor was a practicing or lapsed Catholic. But Steve Waldman says she’s practicing.)

And one other factoid. If Sotomayor is confirmed, the Court would have six Roman Catholics, two Jews and one Protestant — and that, the oldest, John Paul Stevens.

(ed.note: This post has some good history of Catholics serving on the Court. For the first Catholic to serve on the Court you’ve got to go all the way back to Chief Justice Roger Taney (appointed by Andrew Jackson). But only 11 Roman Catholics have ever been appointed to the Court — and five of those are currently serving.)

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