Supreme Court buzz: Will the next Court be all Catholic and Jewish?

There’s been a lot of buzz in recent days about the possibility Justice John Paul Stevens, who will turn 90 next week, will retire this summer. Stevens has served for 34 years.

That sets the stage for yet another bitter battle over a high court nominee. Conservative Republicans have already said they’ll do everything possible to thwart any nominee seen as “ideological” – which, translated into plain English, means they’ll work like heck to block anybody who doesn’t agree with their ideology. Democrats will work just as hard to sell their candidate as beyond partisanship and ideology, even though they’ll be really excited about the prospect of changing the Court’s ideological makeup.

Interestingly, the two jurists at the top of the list for Court watchers are Jewish: Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Judge Merrick Garland of the Federal Appeals Court in Washington

If either gets the nod and survives the bitter confirmation battle, it would create a Supreme Court consisting entirely of Catholics and Jews, since Stevens is now the only Protestant.

A new Jewish Justice would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer.

A lot has changed since 1916, when Louis Brandeis became the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice – and even since the 1990s, when convention held that there was one “Jewish seat” on the high court bench.

Who’d have thunk it?

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.