More Proof That Times Have-a-Changed

Check this out: The Supreme Court is losing its only Protestant to retirement.  Of course he might be replaced by another Protestant, but I don't think that's going to be one of the criteria that the Obama administration looks at when nominating a new justice.

According to the article, of the Supremes that Justice Stevens leaves behind, six are Roman Catholic and two are Jewish.  It's hard to believe that just 50 years ago it was a HUGE deal that Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic to be elected POTUS. From the article:

It was not ever thus. Presidents once looked at two main factors in picking justices.

“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.

(h/t to Lex for the link)

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