Add Kagan, and High Court Won't Have Any Protestants

Court rarely reflects country's faith mix well
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2010 10:11 AM CDT
Add Kagan, and High Court Won't Have Any Protestants
The current Supreme Court, with John Paul Stevens, is seen in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

If Elena Kagan is confirmed, the Supreme Court will have six Catholics, three Jews, and, for the first time in history, not a single Protestant. That might not seem as important as it used to, but Ed Kilgore of FiveThirtyEight decided to take a quick look at the court's historic religious makeup. At present, Catholics, who make up only about a quarter of the population, are certainly overrepresented.

But historically, they've been underrepresented—the current six are half of the Catholic justices who have ever served. Even more underrepresented, historically, are Baptists (three justices), Mormons (none), and, of course, atheists (none). “If there is a lesson,” Kilgore concludes, “it's that this is no longer a Protestant Nation, and that 'fair' representation of religious communities takes some time.” (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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