Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Religion in the Supreme Court

by Rachel Levitt

Tags: Spirituality, Church and state, faith, Supreme Court, law, religion, Moment Magazine,

The intersection of religion and politics in the US has been hotly debated since the country’s inception, and focus on the subject seems especially heightened since the presidential election kicked off last year (e.g. Mitt Romney’s religion speech, the tiff between Obama and Rev. Wright). In any presidential race, a candidate's spirituality could influence future Supreme Court Justice appointments, which could in turn affect the Court's rulings on issues like abortion rights and the death penalty. In Moment Magazine, nine legal experts, including Eugene Volokh and Jeffrey Toobin, respond to the question “Does the religion of Supreme Court justices play a role in their jurisprudence?” Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at The George Washington University, echoes several other panelists' opinions, saying: "Religious background is one of several elements of personality and temperament that may affect leadership styles, the way that a justice interacts with colleagues, and the way that he pursues his agenda, but it does not guarantee that he will vote one way or another."