Changes on the Supreme Court

And then there were five — five Catholics left on the Supreme Court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on Feb. 13, 2016. How will the loss of the court’s most conservative voice — a voice that often sprung from Scalia’s Roman Catholicism — affect arguments and decisions on the court’s docket this year? Will the next appointment expand the religious diversity of a court that now includes only Roman Catholic and Jewish justices? One of the reported top candidates, Srikanth Srinivasan, is a Hindu, whose possible appointment would broaden the diversity of the court and take it beyond Judeo-Christian faiths — and into Hinduism and polytheism — for the first time. Does the religion of the next Supreme Court justice matter? Should it?


Religious cases in the court this year

The court has several religious and moral issues on its docket in the next few months.

National Sources

  • Susan Low Bloch

    Susan Low Bloch is a law professor at Georgetown University. She is an expert in constitutional law, communications law and courts and judges and she teaches a seminar on the Supreme Court.

  • Jesse H. Choper

    Jesse H. Choper is emeritus professor of public law at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an expert on church-state issues and U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding religion. He is the author of Securing Religious Liberty: Principles for Judicial Interpretation of the Religion Clauses. He was a law clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren.

  • Bryan A. Garner

    Bryan A. Garner is the founder and president of LawProse and a professor of law at Southern Methodist University School of Law in Dallas. He has personally interviewed nine Supreme Court Justices on writing and oral advocacy and co-authored two books with Antonin Scalia.

    Contact: 214-691-8588.
  • James Hitchcock

    James Hitchcock is a professor emeritus of history at St. Louis University. He wrote the book The Supreme Court and Religion in American Life, Vol. 2: From “Higher Law” to “Sectarian Scruples.”

  • Paul Horwitz

    Paul Horwitz is a professor of law at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he specializes in law and religion, constitutional law and the First Amendment. He is the author of The Agnostic Age: Law, Religion and the Constitution and First Amendment Institutions.

  • David T. Pride

    David T. Pride is executive director of the Supreme Court Historical Society, a nonprofit founded by Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1974 to preserve the history of the Supreme Court.

    Contact: 202-543-0400.
  • Neil Siegel

    Neil Siegel is a professor of law and political science and co-director of the Program in Public Law at Duke University in Durham, N.C. He is an expert on constitutional law and theory, and the Supreme Court. Much of his recent work has been on the Affordable Care Act. He clerked for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

  • Laurence H. Tribe

    Laurence H. Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard University. Tribe’s areas of expertise include abortion and church-state issues. He wrote the book Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes.

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