Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Religious Makeup of the Supreme Court

I heard a fascinating piece on NPR this morning: Justice Stevens may retire soon, and the two leading candidates to replace him are both Jewish (the third is Catholic). If this happens, the Supreme Court will be made up entirely of Catholics and Jews and, for the first time, have no Protestants.

NPR called discussion of this topic "radioactive", but nonetheless I'm going to advance a theory that should offend everybody equally. Catholics and Jews make good constitutional judges because they have a lifetime of practice in parsing the finest nuances of strict, elaborate, and often ambiguous regulations, looking for loopholes. Protestants, conversely, are more accustomed to applying barely-tenable interpretations that suit their purposes of the moment, or outright picking and choosing which strictures to follow and which to ignore.

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