Will the Supreme Court Make History with Four Jewish Justices?


U.S. Supreme Court could have the highest number of Jewish Justices at one time in history.

As of now, the Supreme Court of the United States has three justices who are Jews: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. If President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland is confirmed, then for the first time in the American history, the United States Supreme Court will have the highest number of Jewish justices at one time, on the bench.

Will the Supreme Court Make History with Four Jewish Justices?[/tweetthis]

The religious background of a judge is usually not a factor in the Supreme Court selection process. However, it holds interest. People and institutions (like the Catholic Church) are always interested in the religious views of a particular justice, especially on controversial topics like abortion, the death penalty, gay marriage, and so on.

In the year 2009 and 2010, Merrick Garland was considered for the Supreme Court justice position. However, he did not receive a nomination. Finally, he got a nomination this year. President Barack Obama nominated Garland for the position. Garland is considered a centrist and a judicial moderate.

There are thirteen million Jewish people around the world. Roughly about half of them live in the United States. 2.2% of the American population constitutes Jewish people. Until the United States Constitution, Jewish people were never given any importance. They were just tolerated as minorities. The Constitution changed everything. It counted them an integral part of the United States. That is one reason why Jewish people have a high passion for justice.

According to Rabbi Evan Moffic (Congregation Solel), Jewish people introduced the Ten Commandments to the world. Their Torah proclaims the pursuit of justice (Deuteronomy 16:20). Their first leaders were judges, and not generals or kings. Rabbi Moffic further said that their religion is viewed as a religion of law, and not of love. He said they take it as a compliment, because love overwhelms logic and reason, and may stand in the path of true justice.

A lot of people thought that President Obama would select Sri Srinivasan as his Supreme Court justice nominee. Sri Srinivasan is a Hindu. According to Richard Garnett, a law professor at Notre Dame, if Sri Srinivasan were nominated or confirmed, it would have made an interesting statement about America's evolving statement on religion.

Garnett also pointed out a potential logistical issue that may arise if Merrick Garland is confirmed as the Supreme Court Justice. Jewish high holidays usually fall on weekdays, and they will have to be in the synagogue on those days. So, if there is an oral argument scheduled on those days, then four justices absent from the proceedings means there will barely be a quorum. Garnett further pointed out that majority of the Americans think that a 5 to 4 verdict/vote is usually the result of a culture war.


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