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A Supreme Court With No Protestants?

As expected, Stevens announces retirement.

Justice John Paul Stevens's announcement today that he will retire this summer will add to speculation (already voiced by NPR's Morning Edition, The Washington Post, and others) that the next Supreme Court term will open with no Protestants on the court.

Morning Edition wonders if it's okay even to talk about it. Both the Post and NPR wonder if it even really matters. "Clearly, the court thinks of itself as post-religious," says the Post's Robert Barnes. "But perceptions matter."

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Frank Lockwood says it doesn't matter: the divide today isn't between Protestants and Catholics but between traditionalists and liberals in both camps. "Most evangelical leaders, I'm guessing, would rather see a Catholic like Scalia than a Protestant like Stevens."

(The debate on this question got rather heated when Catholics became the majority on the court in 2006. A key issue: Is there a reason there are no evangelicals on the Court?)

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