Guest / Limited Access /

Justice John Paul Stevens announced in April his upcoming retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court, prompting waves of speculation on whether the departure of the Court's only Protestant—six remaining justices are Catholic and two are Jewish—will matter. Few Protestants have landed on the shortlist to replace him.

"There should be no religious test for a Supreme Court nomination, but religious diversity is valuable because it may help the Court to understand sympathetically the worldviews held by various groups of Americans."

"Who we are affects how we view things. In a small group like the Supreme Court, all of a person's identity features will affect how that small group of people makes decisions. But it's not clear if religion will be a principal motivating force in someone's time on the Court. Data from the lower court level suggests identity as a member of the religious right can affect decision-making on a fairly narrow subset of issues—capital punishment, gender discrimination, and obscenity. But the Supreme Court is small, and ideology and judicial philosophy play a very big role in guiding decision-making."

"No, it doesn't matter if he or she is a Protestant, but I'm a firm believer that the form-freedom balance we enjoy as Americans is uniquely the product of our Judeo-Christian heritage. Our freedoms are rooted in the notion that we are created in God's image."

"I don't think it will affect the work of the Court. Those issues concern conservative versus liberal jurisprudence. Protestant and Catholic conservatives share jurisprudential values; so do Protestant and Catholic liberals. It's more interesting for what it says about the roles of the different faiths now in these intellectual movements than ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Graceful Justice
Gideon Strauss was shaped by growing up in apartheid-era South Africa.
RecommendedWhat You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’
What You Probably Don’t Know about ‘The Least of These’
A more biblically accurate understanding of Jesus' words in Matthew 25.
TrendingRussia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Group gives Protestants competition for souls, but also an ally on religious freedom.
Editor's PickThe Three Myths of Cohabitation
The Three Myths of Cohabitation
Sociologist Bradford Wilcox reports the surprising results of his new international study on cohabitation and its impact on kids.
Christianity Today
A Protestant-Less Supreme Court: Does it Matter?
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.