Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Friday, February 19, 2016

Supreme Religions

Have you ever thought about the role personal faith may play in the decisions made by the Supreme Court?  I know, I know, they're supposed to be objective.  I also know they voted along party lines in 2000 to put George W. Bush in the White House.

How do you totally separate yourself from your faith? Is that even possible?

Today's court is made up of 3 Jews and 5 Catholics. Since Justice John Paul Stevens retired in 2010, the court, for the first time, has no Protestant member.

Justice Scalia was a very devout Catholic.  I think you see evidence of his faith in his work.  In his dissent from the court's decision on same-sex marriage he addressed some changes he would like to see to the court.  One of those was the religious make-up.

He said "Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination" sits on the court.  He thought that should change.

You might find it interesting to look at this chart to see the religious make up of Congress.

Now, my question is, how do you accomplish such a thing?  We try very hard to keep the subject of religion out of confirmation hearings. Do you think it should be a consideration when a President is selecting a candidate?


  1. While I THINK I believe religion should not be a consideration when selecting a Supreme Court candidate, at the same time I find it surprising and unsettling that the current Court has no Protestants. Also, I feel Muslims, American Indians,...have every right to be represented on the Court. So, apparently I actually believe religion should be one of the factors considered when nominating a candidate.

  2. Since I do think it is impossible to completely divorce ones policies from ones religious beliefs, I do think that we can see that effect of faith in a candidates record without actually examining what specific faith one is. Given that, if we are to look at religion as a qualifying condition, then not only should protestants be represented, but also the non-religious.

  3. No I don't as I do believe in the separation of church and state. Sometimes I think being an atheist should be a requirement so that decisions would be based on law and not religious leanings and no I am not an atheist. It is just impossible to represent every religion, race or gender unless we increase the number of justices. Sticky problem you presented us Linda.

  4. I find it just as big a problem that religion is such a HUGE thing in the presidential election. Like Patti, I strongly believe in the separation of church and state.