May 27th, 2009
09:30 AM ET
5 years ago

Sotomayor would be part of court's Catholic shift

If confirmed, Sonia Sotomayor would be the sixth Catholic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
If confirmed, Sonia Sotomayor would be the sixth Catholic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – As Supreme Court hopeful Sonia Sotomayor breaks ground for Hispanics, she is poised to add an exclamation point to another historic demographic shift: the move to a Catholic court.

Sotomayor was raised Catholic and if she is confirmed, six out of nine, or two-thirds of the justices on the court will be from the faith. Catholics make up about one-quarter of the U.S. population.

"It's most unusual," said Barbara Perry, a government professor at Sweetbriar College who was already writing a book about Catholics on the Supreme Court when Sotomayor was named as the next nominee.

"Presidents used to reserve a Catholic seat and a Jewish seat on the Supreme Court," Perry told CNN Radio. "Now we've moved from a Catholic seat on the court to a Catholic court."

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Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
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