The US Supreme Court is made up of six Roman Catholics, two Jews and Justice Stevens.
Professor Stone, of the University of Chicago, learned this in 2007 when he wrote an opinion article in The Chicago Tribune after the Supreme Court upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in Gonzales v. Carhart.
«Here is a painfully awkward observation: All five justices in the majority in Gonzales are Roman Catholic», Professor Stone wrote. «The four justices who are not all followed clear and settled precedent».
«Given the nature of the issue, the strength of the relevant precedent, and the inadequacy of the court’s reasoning, the question of religion», he went on, «is too obvious to ignore»
Professor Stone said he was surprised by the vehement criticism that followed. Catholics in particular, he recalled in an interview, said the religion of the justices should be off limits. One Catholic, Justice Antonin Scalia, was especially furious about the questions raised in Professor Stone’s article.
«I had been pleased and sort of proud that Americans didn’t pay attention» to religion, he said in an interview with Joan Biskupic for her recent biography of him, «American Original». «It isn’t religion that divides us anymore».
Professor Stone’s article, he said, was «a damn lie», adding that «it got me so mad that I will not appear at the University of Chicago until he is no longer on the faculty».
«Historically, religion was huge», said Professor Epstein of Northwestern. «It was up there with geography as the key factor».
There is, for instance, no official photograph of the justices from 1924. The court had to cancel its portrait that year because Justice James C. McReynolds, an anti-Semite and a racist, refused to sit next to Justice Louis D. Brandeis, the first Jewish justice. The fact that William J. Brennan Jr. was Catholic seemed to figure in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s decision to nominate him to the court in the election year of 1956. But when Justice Abe Fortas resigned in 1969 from what was considered the «Jewish seat» President Richard M. Nixon saw no political gain from replacing him with another Jew, settling instead on Harry A. Blackmun, a Methodist.
As that progression suggests, religion, which once mattered deeply, has fallen out of the conversation. And it seems to make people uncomfortable on the rare occasions it is raised. Professor Stone said there were ways a justice’s religious affiliation could have an impact on the court. President Obama, for instance, could nominate an evangelical Christian.
Mark Tushnet, a law professor at Harvard, had another suggestion. President Obama, he said, could use Justice Stevens’s retirement as an opportunity both to honor tradition and to break new ground.
«The smartest political move,” he said, “would be to nominate an openly gay, Protestant guy».
Source: New York Times
Does the religious conviction of the justices of the US Supreme Court matter?
Obviously. If the majority of them were Muslims, The Patriot Act would have been revoked as unconstitutional.
There were 32 declared national emergencies between 1976 and 2001 in the US. Most of these were for the purpose of restricting trade with certain foreign entities under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
When the One World Government is introduced to solve an emerging global crisis in the Great Tribulation, a papal controlled US Supreme Court will not object to a US President handing over his executive powers to the Vatican. Even today, both the Vice President and The Speaker on Capitol Hill are Roman Catholics.
The US Senate can not stop the President doing so, within the first six months of such a decision. Than a Grand Jury will be appointed by the US Supreme Court to look into the constitutional side of the matter.
First published May 3rd 2010.
Written by Ivar