I've written before about my undying love for legal commentator Dahlia Lithwick; today I bring you her latest column at Slate, which challenges us to consider the religious diversity of the United States Supreme Court.
Popular opinion once held that even one Catholic was too many on the court. Today there are six. But would anyone even notice if Obama appointed a seventh to replace Stevens? Once upon a time, there was an outright religious litmus test for Supreme Court appointees. Today religion is almost irrelevant in appointing new justices.
. . .
We generally don't talk much about religion and the Supreme Court. We talk about the need for race and gender diversity on the court in brave, sweeping pronouncements: The court needs more women, we say, or more Asians, or more gay and disabled people. Because all those things will impact the law. But when it comes to talking about religious diversity, it happens in whispers, if at all. Because it might impact the law.
I think it's an interesting example of how our conversations about identity are shifting from more material, embodied factors (sex, race, sexual orientation, physical abilities, class) to understanding people in terms of chosen affiliations, and how those affiliations shape our sense of group identity and our understanding of "diversity" in action.
That's all I have for the end of this busy week, but hope you all head on over to Slate to read the whole thing.