[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/27/sotomayor.catholic/art.sotomayor1.cnn.jpg caption="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."