Bob Barnes at the Washington Post has a column today that discusses whether the days of the Court’s religiously-reserved seats are over:
Here’s the kind of question that might violate the rules you learned about proper dinner conversation: Does President Obama’s next Supreme Court nominee need to be a Protestant?
If Justice John Paul Stevens decides to call it a career after he turns 90 next month, the Supreme Court would for the first time in its history be without a justice belonging to America’s largest religious affiliations.
Turns out I’ve violated dinner conversation etiquette several times since I started F1@1F in December.
As I stated on F1@1F’s first day, I believe Obama will nominate Judge Diane Wood to preserve what has now become “the W.A.S.P. seat” when Stevens retires. For this reason (though not only this reason) I disagree with Tom Goldstein’s prediction at SCOTUSBlog that Solicitor General Elena Kagan will be Stevens’s successor.
In fact, Kagan may have time yet before she gets her much-expected nomination to the bench. I think Justice Ginsburg’s successor will be a person of color from a yet-to-be represented ethnic group. Only when Justice Breyer retires will the President seek to preserve the Jewish seat.
By then, however, Kagan’s window may be closed by age or the President’s party affiliation. And no amount of goodwill Kagan built up among the conservative legal professoriate during her Harvard Law deanship will compel a GOP President to nominate her.