• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Number of Catholics on the Supreme Court ?

Tom

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,293
1
76
5 of the 9 are Catholic.
2 are Jewish.

2 for everything else.

Somehow, doesn't seem too representative..

 

Tom

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,293
1
76
Originally posted by: Strk
They're there to interpret the law, not represent people.

in theory they should represent the disparate views of ALL the people.

That's one reason there are 9 of them, not one.

 

Kadarin

Lifer
Nov 23, 2001
44,302
9
81
Originally posted by: Tom
Originally posted by: Strk
They're there to interpret the law, not represent people.

in theory they should represent the disparate views of ALL the people.

That's one reason there are 9 of them, not one.
No. They should ensure that laws which violate the Constitution get struck down, regardless of what anyone's "views" are.
 

jrenz

Banned
Jan 11, 2006
1,788
0
0
Originally posted by: Tom
Originally posted by: Strk
They're there to interpret the law, not represent people.

in theory they should represent the disparate views of ALL the people.

That's one reason there are 9 of them, not one.
Actually, there are 9 to avoid deadlocked decisions. They are supposed to represent the letter of the law and the constitution, not the opinions of the people.
 

dahunan

Lifer
Jan 10, 2002
18,191
2
0
And they are NEVER supposed to represent the views of the president or the elected party .. they are supposed to be as unbiased and pragmatic as possible.
 

Tom

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,293
1
76
As I said, if the Supreme Court was not supposed to represent the diversity of opinion of all Americans, there would be no reason to have more than one justice.

Those of you who think they simply interpret the law and the Constitution apparently aren't aware what is involved in doing that. People's life experiences and personal morality will shape how they interpret the law, the purpose for having multiple justices is primarily to prevent one person, or one philosophy, determining what the Constitution means.

The political process of the President nominating, and the Senate's role, is where the representation of the people comes into the selection process. It isn't true that the justices aren't supposed to represent the people's diversity of viewpoints as to what the law is, the process is designed to introduce stability and the need to maintain political favor, but not to completely eliminate the relationship between the people, and their law.

The Constitution and the law ultimately belongs to the people, not the Supreme Court.

My point about the number of Catholics isn't that it's necessarily a problem, but more that it's an odd byproduct of the attempts of the Republicans to use the court for their own political purposes.

And since there's a good possibility that the next Supreme Court appointee may be Hispanic, we could have 6 Catholic justices in the future.

Instead of making comments that don't reflect reality, like the court exists in a vacuum, handing down interpretations from on high, why not a little discussion about the wisdom of having a court that in at least this one respect is becoming less representative of the people ?

 

imported_Shivetya

Platinum Member
Jul 7, 2005
2,978
1
0
Originally posted by: Tom

The political process of the President nominating, and the Senate's role, is where the representation of the people comes into the selection process. It isn't true that the justices aren't supposed to represent the people's diversity of viewpoints as to what the law is, the process is designed to introduce stability and the need to maintain political favor, but not to completely eliminate the relationship between the people, and their law.

The Constitution and the law ultimately belongs to the people, not the Supreme Court.

My point about the number of Catholics isn't that it's necessarily a problem, but more that it's an odd byproduct of the attempts of the Republicans to use the court for their own political purposes.

And since there's a good possibility that the next Supreme Court appointee may be Hispanic, we could have 6 Catholic justices in the future.

Instead of making comments that don't reflect reality, like the court exists in a vacuum, handing down interpretations from on high, why not a little discussion about the wisdom of having a court that in at least this one respect is becoming less representative of the people ?
Why not complain that 7 are Christians? With 7 Christians and 2 Jewish members does that not lock out those who are aethiest, hindu, muslim, or scientologist?

When people start to look at the faith of others and casually bring it into conversations they seem to always do so to discredit any decision that those in question have made.

I don't see a problem with the court's makeup but then again I am Catholic. Isn't Pelosi one as well? It would be interesting to see if another Cathlolic can get elected as President. For all the claims of Republican's using religious dogma I bet if another Catholic got into the White House he or she would be a Democrat.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
35,060
5,144
126
Catholics chosen for their pro-life zeal, no doubt. I guess you just can't trust them protestants to tow the party line after Souter.
 

Tom

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,293
1
76
I'm not complaining, I'm attempting to have a discussion. I don't disagree with your point about Hindus, Muslims, atheists.

As far as Christians, there is a fairly large distinction between Catholics and Protestants. The former in theory at least believes there is one person at the head of their church, who makes all kinds of decisions, not just matters of religion, for all Catholics.

Now I realize that not all American Catholics follow every rule the Pope creates, and particularly politicians and justices try to make it clear they will make decisions based on the Constitution, not the church. However I think their understanding of a particular circumstance may be quite different than say a Hindu or atheist.

And it might be useful to have a greater diversity of understanding, just as I think it's useful to have women on the court.

 

brandonb

Diamond Member
Oct 17, 2006
3,731
2
0
Alot of people in politics default their religious beliefs to "Catholic"... John Kerry said he was Catholic, but according to his views, hes about as far away from a typical Catholic as you can get.

Just because someone says they are Catholic doesn't really mean squat these days. Lets worry about something else...
 

Mean MrMustard

Diamond Member
Jan 5, 2001
3,144
10
81
Originally posted by: brandonb
Alot of people in politics default their religious beliefs to "Catholic"... John Kerry said he was Catholic, but according to his views, hes about as far away from a typical Catholic as you can get.

Just because someone says they are Catholic doesn't really mean squat these days. Lets worry about something else...
LOL!

Coming from...

-A Conservative Christian
How do you know what his personal beliefs are?

 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,063
495
126
Originally posted by: Tom
5 of the 9 are Catholic.
2 are Jewish.

2 for everything else.

Somehow, doesn't seem too representative..
Supreme court isnt an electable position.

I do find it pretty interesting however considering we have had 1 catholic president that didnt even make it through his first term.
 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,789
3,192
126
Originally posted by: Tom
Originally posted by: Strk
They're there to interpret the law, not represent people.

in theory they should represent the disparate views of ALL the people.

That's one reason there are 9 of them, not one.
not true,,,,
 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,789
3,192
126
*yawn* I agree there shouyld be one justice on the suprene court for each represeantation of a race of people that live in America.......
There should also be a justice for each differing a varied view point in the United states!!
Then we can have total 100% representation...hahahahaaaaa....rofl...NOT!!!
 

Stoneburner

Diamond Member
May 29, 2003
3,491
0
76
maybe they have 9 justices to ensure impartiality on individual matters not be representative? Maybe the founders did not want a single arbiter of the laws?

THE OP is silly.
 

Tom

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,293
1
76
Originally posted by: Stoneburner
maybe they have 9 justices to ensure impartiality on individual matters not be representative? Maybe the founders did not want a single arbiter of the laws?

THE OP is silly.

ask yourself why more justices would ensure impartiality ? I agree that's part of the reason for having more than one, but the reason it has that effect depends on the diversity of opinion of the justices. So the less diversity the less likelihood there is for an impartial decision.

It wasn't better, in terms of diversity, when the court was almost all white protestant men, but it seems particularly weird that a majority of justices are all the same religion, even though that religion isn't practiced by a majority of citizens.

I'm not trying to make it more significant than it is, but I'm willing to bet that if the next justice who is nominated is catholic more people will pay attention than have so far, particularly if one of the two remaining protestants would be replaced by an additional catholic. And that's fairly likely to happen given that Justice Stevens is one of the oldest justices.

info

 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,515
0
0
Originally posted by: Tom
Originally posted by: Stoneburner
maybe they have 9 justices to ensure impartiality on individual matters not be representative? Maybe the founders did not want a single arbiter of the laws?

THE OP is silly.

ask yourself why more justices would ensure impartiality ? I agree that's part of the reason for having more than one, but the reason it has that effect depends on the diversity of opinion of the justices. So the less diversity the less likelihood there is for an impartial decision.

It wasn't better, in terms of diversity, when the court was almost all white protestant men, but it seems particularly weird that a majority of justices are all the same religion, even though that religion isn't practiced by a majority of citizens.

I'm not trying to make it more significant than it is, but I'm willing to bet that if the next justice who is nominated is catholic more people will pay attention than have so far, particularly if one of the two remaining protestants would be replaced by an additional catholic. And that's fairly likely to happen given that Justice Stevens is one of the oldest justices.

info
Even if diversity should be or is a factor, I would think we can all agree that it shouldn't be the only or the primary factor. While diversity may be desirable, perhaps the other factors worth considering in a supreme court candidate were more important. After all, while she would have evened the sexual balance of the court, Harriet Meyers was passed over because she lacked experience. Perhaps individuals with other desirable traits simply also happen to be Catholic.
 

nageov3t

Lifer
Feb 18, 2004
42,816
83
91
if the justices were legislating their religious beliefs, the death penalty would have been struck down long ago.

the catholic church is pretty cut and dry on their opposition to the death penalty, unlike some protestant evangelical branches which try to justify institutionalized murder.
 

Tom

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,293
1
76
That's true, my opinion is not really based on them being catholic, it's the strangeness of having a particular religious minority having what could constitute a ruling majority, and a good possibility that the Court will go even farther in that direction.

Even if they defer to the Constitution over their religious convictions, that still leaves a great deal of interpretation up to them. And we have to assume they accept some of the tenants of catholicism or they wouldn't call themselves catholic.

There's quite a substantial difference in the way catholics and protestants think about the authority of religion, and where the power of the church resides, let alone catholics and non-Christians.

I only bring that up to illustrate that it isn't a trivial difference, not because I have anything against catholics.

Since the President nominates justices for the Supreme Court, he or she is ultimately responsible for seeing that the make up of the Court is representative of the people, not his political party or to try to affect the balance of the Court to some political end.

Seems to me it's a legitimate question to ask why lately Presidents are so attracted to catholic judges ? The trend that results in us having 5 catholic justices isn't some strange coincidence, it's a deliberate decision.

Personally I have a good deal of faith in the integrity of most of the current justices, so I doubt the inappropriate intent of the Presidents will be successful.

 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
5
0
Originally posted by: Tom
That's true, my opinion is not really based on them being catholic, it's the strangeness of having a particular religious minority having what could constitute a ruling majority, and a good possibility that the Court will go even farther in that direction.

Even if they defer to the Constitution over their religious convictions, that still leaves a great deal of interpretation up to them. And we have to assume they accept some of the tenants of catholicism or they wouldn't call themselves catholic.

There's quite a substantial difference in the way catholics and protestants think about the authority of religion, and where the power of the church resides, let alone catholics and non-Christians.

I only bring that up to illustrate that it isn't a trivial difference, not because I have anything against catholics.

Since the President nominates justices for the Supreme Court, he or she is ultimately responsible for seeing that the make up of the Court is representative of the people, not his political party or to try to affect the balance of the Court to some political end.

Seems to me it's a legitimate question to ask why lately Presidents are so attracted to catholic judges ? The trend that results in us having 5 catholic justices isn't some strange coincidence, it's a deliberate decision.

Personally I have a good deal of faith in the integrity of most of the current justices, so I doubt the inappropriate intent of the Presidents will be successful.
Where is it stated that the make up of the court is representative of the people.

Also, to force a religion filter starts stepping onto the Constitution where the government shall not dictate a religion.

 

brandonb

Diamond Member
Oct 17, 2006
3,731
2
0
Originally posted by: Donny Baker

LOL!

Coming from...

-A Conservative Christian
How do you know what his personal beliefs are?
Because I've heard him speak... I actually do listen to the debates and do research. I'm well aware of what John Kerry is about.

And just because I'm "-A Conservative Christian" doesn't mean I've got my head in the sand or always vote Republican or anything of the sort. In fact, if I was going to vote in that election John Kerry was closer to getting my vote than anybody else. However, I still wasn't satisfied with him enough to cast a vote. I don't vote lesser of two evils. I vote the guy who represents my views, and he was the closer of the two but still didn't have enough in common to get a vote.

But seeing that is irrelevant to this thread, I'll just reiterate my opinion. Just because Catholics are part of the supreme court it doesn't mean there is some "Catholic conspiracy" going on.
 

Tom

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,293
1
76
Where is it stated that the make up of the court is representative of the people.

Also, to force a religion filter starts stepping onto the Constitution where the government shall not dictate a religion.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________


That's kind of my point, except in reverse. How did we end up with 5 Catholic justices if no filter was being applied ?

And as I've said several times, the founders gave the selection of justices to the political branches for a reason, that reason is so the justices represent the people, but not in as direct a way as having the people elect the justices.

If anyone can't see that, then you need a lesson in civics.

 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,789
3,192
126
Originally posted by: Tom
Where is it stated that the make up of the court is representative of the people.

Also, to force a religion filter starts stepping onto the Constitution where the government shall not dictate a religion.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________


That's kind of my point, except in reverse. How did we end up with 5 Catholic justices if no filter was being applied ?

And as I've said several times, the founders gave the selection of justices to the political branches for a reason, that reason is so the justices represent the people, but not in as direct a way as having the people elect the justices.

If anyone can't see that, then you need a lesson in civics. --- no if anyone fails to see things as you do that has nothing to do wuth what they know or don`t know! Each and every person is entitled to there own opinion regardless of what you think!
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY