by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz | July 2nd, 2014
Among the more deranged (among many) reactions to the Supreme Court decision on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., you’ll find this:
The Uncomfortable Question: Should We Have Six Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court?
In Justice Alito’s majority opinion, he relies squarely on Catholic teaching about “complicity” to explain the supposed burden. In doing so, he reiterates the argument that the Catholic Church has made in the dozens of lawsuits it has brought challenging the contraceptive mandate. According to the Church, it violates the moral obligations of a Catholic to do anything — anything — that would “facilitate” the provision of contraception to an individual. So even if one is not using contraception oneself, if one facilitates access to contraception by others, a grave moral wrong has been committed.
The man writing that nonsense does not bother to define exactly what he means by Catholic teaching about “complicity”, and clearly ignores the fact that Hobby Lobby willingly provides insurance coverage for 16 types of contraceptives.
Princeton University professor Robert P. George addresses the uncomfortable question in this morning’s Facebook post:
It is true that six justices are (at least nominally) Catholic, though only 24% of Americans are members of that faith.
It is also true that three justices are Jewish, though less than 2% (1.7% to be exact) of the U.S. population are Jewish.
So the folks on the left who are questioning the appropriateness of having so many Catholic justices should be asked to tell us which religious group in the U.S. they believe is most highly overrepresented on the Supreme Court.
And what about underrepresentation? The largest religious group in the U.S., Evangelical Christians, are nearly 27%. The number of Evangelicals on the Supreme Court: Zero. Hmmmm . . . . What do our friends on the left who are complaining about the overrepresentation of Catholics on the Court have to say about that? Aren’t Evangelicals, if we are bean counting, entitled to at least 2 seats?
And the third largest religious group in the country are mainline Protestants, at about 18%. Shouldn’t they have a seat?
And what about the LDS Church (the Mormons)? The Mormon population in the U.S. is as large as the Jewish population and is growing faster. Do the LDS have three seats on the Supreme Court? Nope. There are no Mormons among the justices.
Well, shall we stop playing the bean counting game?
Prof. George’s commenter Lynn approaches the issue:
A solid jurist shouldn’t be judged by religious affiliation. Rather judged by judicial temperament and thorough knowledge of the laws.
Yes, but their duty is to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, to which they are bound by solemn oath. And, by the way, one of their oaths specifically states “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
Amen to that!
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. & Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.