Supreme Court and Secularism

NPR web site has an article about the religious makeup of the Supreme Court. It mentions that of the nine Supreme Court Justices, six are Catholic, two are Jewish, and one has said he will probably retire. So depending on who Obama chooses to replace him, it is possible that the Supreme Court might have no Protestant Justices.

More than a problem of religious diversity, to me, is the problem that not all of the Justices feel the need for a secularist approach. I don’t mind a Justice being religious, as long as he is a secularist on the Bench. As a secularist, they would agree that religion not be banned or outlawed from all Justices, but just that no religious argument would be given consideration when deciding a case. We do not have secularist Justices and so, to me, we do not have real justice.

Shall we set up a pool as to when the first Atheist/Humanist/Naturalist Supreme Court Justice might be picked?

David Kimball


4 Responses to “Supreme Court and Secularism”

  1. 1 KeithM
    April 7, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I’ll take “not in my lifetime” as the answer to your question.

    Sadly enough.

  2. 2 TPO
    April 8, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Yeah, just imagine how batshit crazy the GOP would go if Obama nominated a nonbeliever to the Supreme Court! FOX “News” would have those tebaggers forming a lynch mob.

  3. 3 Matt Palmer
    April 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Amazing things can happen when you create it by asking for it. Now, who should we ask for?

  4. April 11, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    To my knowledge there have been secularist justices on the Supreme Court in the past. Louis Brandeis, for instance, while obviously of Jewish heritage, was pretty much an agnostic. In fact he was related by marriage to the founder of Ethical Culture, Felix Adler. Back in the 1890s, Adler once requested that Brandeis take on the role of leader of the Boston Ethical Society, but Brandeis turned down the offer, instead, pursuing his legal career, which eventually would lead to his nomination to the Supreme Court. Benjamin Cardozo, was likewise of Jewish heritage, and like Brandeis, a self-described agnostic. And there likely have been other secularists who have served on the Court too. However, I agree that given today’s political climate it would be very difficult for an avowed atheist or agnostic to be confirmed for a seat on the Court. In that respect at least, we have regressed rather than progressed.

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