Catholics Could Get Majority on High Court
Yet news that the son of an Italian immigrant father, someone who grew up in a suburban New Jersey parish where he served as a lector and later married, doesn't carry quite the power it might have in the days when Kennedys ran for the White House.
Catholics have become part of the nation's political mainstream -- far removed from the blatant anti-Catholic prejudice that once permeated American culture. They are as divided as other Americans on abortion and other social issues that will be a focus of Alito's confirmation hearings -- making an outpouring of religious pride for the conservative jurist less likely.
''The Catholic community is not going out dancing in the streets of Boston tonight because of this nomination,'' said James Davidson, a Purdue University sociologist who researches religion and Supreme Court justices. ''But it still represents a significant development in American religious history.''
Protestants have been so dominant on the court that half of the justices have come from just three denominations: the Episcopal, Presbyterian and Congregational churches, he said.
Only two Protestants would remain on the Supreme Court -- David Souter and John Paul Stevens. The two other justices -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer -- are Jewish.
Analysts said Alito, as the fifth Catholic, was a less controversial religious choice than Harriet Miers, whose adult acceptance of born-again Christianity was dissected for clues about how she would vote on abortion. President Bush helped make religion a central issue in her failed nomination, saying it was a factor in selecting her for the high court.
comments powered by Disqus
- Russian History Receives a Makeover That Starts With Ivan the Terrible
- Parsing Ronald Reagan’s Words for Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
- Here's a look at history of 'religious freedom' laws
- ‘Hamilton’ Puts Politics Onstage and Politicians in Attendance
- Earth Tectonic Plate Simulation Reveals Our Planet Has Changed A Lot In 200 Million Years
- Historians make it easy for visitors to DC to understand the history of the Mall
- History's Grandin Wins Bancroft Prize for "The Empire of Necessity"
- Nobel prize-winning scientist writes a history of science
- Ken Burns tackles history of cancer
- If historians have their way, Americans will soon learn how important religion has been in US history