If Solicitor General Elena Kagan, preparing for confirmation hearings to make her the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court, is installed, it would change the religious makeup of the nation’s highest court. But does it really matter that the bench would include six Catholics and, with her confirmation, three Jews and no Protestants?
It’s a historic turning point for a court once comprised of Protestant elites to have no Protestants following the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens. But the shift may say more about how the country—rather than the court—has changed.
“I think that this means that this is an extraordinarily tolerant country religiously, and I think we should stop for a moment and appreciate that,” said Boston University professor Stephen Prothero. “It wasn’t long ago that Protestants were burning down Catholic monasteries, and it wasn’t long ago that the Holocaust happened.”