Caution: Wikipedia is an error-ridden, inaccurate and unprofessional source. I explicitly inform my students that Wikipedia cannot be used in research papers and penalise them if they use it. Under "Supreme Court demographics" they have this egregious and intemperate warning on a link to my blog entry "Roman Catholic Supreme Court Majority" which I am replicating here: "Warning- this is a blog entry that is both non-factual and extremely biased." My blog entry is quite factual; I am a scholar and teach seminars on Supreme Court first amendment case law, and I appropriately denounce slave-owning presidents and justices who have persistently denied basic human rights to women and minorities. I have publicly asked Wikipedia not link my publications or Internet commentary because I do not wish to be associated with them. In their biography of me they have made strategic and palpably "non-factual and extremely biased" comments and have refused to correct them. I was one of David Horowitz's 101 Most Dangerous Professors and Wikipedia might consider the public clamour that may manifest itself if they continue to link my revisionist and provocative analyses to their errant entries. Wikipedia will not intimidate or silence me despite their deliberate distortions and insulting analyses of my writings and career as an academic-freedom figher.
There have been twelve Roman Catholics that have served on the Supreme Court. One of them was one of the greatest jurists in American history and probably, besides Chief Justice Earl Warren, the conscience of the twentieth-century Supreme Court. This was Justice William J. Brennan Jr. who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Dwight David Eisenhower. One of his greatest moments was his opinion in Texas v Johnson (1989) which ruled that burning the American flag was protected speech. Hypocrites and unprincipled Americans such as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, wish to criminalise desecration of a flag which they claim represents American liberties such as the right to protest.
One of them was the worst jurist of the 19th Century and brought disgrace and dishonour to the United States and the entire judicial branch. This monster validated slavery, denied African Americans citizenship and considered them inferior. This was Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney who wrote the Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) decision. He was nomainted in 1835 as Chief Justice to the Supreme Court by the genocidal, slave owning, sociopathic war criminal President Andrew Jackson. He served unfortunately as Chief Justice from 1836-1864. The racist president had appointed Mr Tawney as Treasury Secretary prior to his accession to Chief Justice.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr: Appointed by George W. Bush in 2006. He becomes the fifth Roman Catholic on the nine-member Supreme Court. The other four Roman Catholic justices are:
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.: Appointed by George W. Bush in 2005.
Justice Clarence Thomas: Appointed by George H. W. Bush in 1991. He is an enemy of Civil Rights and an advocate of inequality under law. A disgraceful justice who is contemptuous of the African American struggle for equality and liberation from the vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow. Mr Thomas had been director of the E.E.O.C, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that enforces workplace non-discrimination laws including sexual harassment. Justice Thomas during his Supreme Court, Senate confirmation hearings, was accused in 1991 by Dr Anita Hill, who was a law professor at the University of Oklahoma and now is on the faculty at Brandeis University, of sexual harassment when they both worked at the E.E.O.C. I believed her testimony was credible and Mr Thomas, an enemy of African American advancement, used his race cynically to invoke the image of a "high-tech lynching." Professor Hill and Justice Thomas are African American.
Justice Anthony McLeod Kennedy: Appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1988. A conservative with vision, nuance and honour.
Justice Antonin Scalia: Appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986. An arrogant, unprofessional justice without conscience or dedication to the principle of equal justice under the law. A jurist who decided not to recuse himself from a case involving Vice President Dick Cheney's energy policy development, despite their personal relationship as evidenced when the erratic hunter, the vice president, took the Justice in 2004 on a private duck-hunting expedition to slaughter innocent, sweet, non-threatening animals in Louisiana.
Considering the nativism Roman Catholics have had to endure in a predominately Protestant nation, a Supreme Court majority is testament to socially upward mobility for Roman Catholics: Irish need not apply; the racist Know-Nothing party in the 1850s; the Ku Klan Klan's virulent strand of anti-Catholicism in the 1920s.
The presence of a Roman Catholic majority on the Supreme Court is a rather stunning achievement. It is also perhaps a logical outcome due to the sheer numbers of the single largest religious denomination in the United States. There are many more Protestants but they are scattered ideologically, creedally and politically into disparate sects and denominations.
Religion will play a role in political outcomes. It always has and always will. To suggest individuals can or should eschew the component of religious belief and ideology from one's weltanschauung is not realistic. I recognise that jurists on a court are influenced by their life experiences and cultural backgrounds in their approach to law and constitutional interpretation. Let us hope the Supreme Court will not veer, regardless of its composition, into an area where women's rights, including abortion rights, the separation of church and state, civil rights, equal marriage and civil liberties are eviscerated as we struggle, as a nation, to contain the impulses toward militarism, greed and intolerance.