If a diverse array of justices is desirable, should we not be concerned that if you are confirmed, six out of the nine justices will be Roman Catholics, or is it somehow wrong to start paying attention to the extreme overrepresentation of Catholicism on the court at the moment when we have our first Hispanic nominee?I think religious diversity is particularly important, because it has more to do with the individual's mind. It's part of one's thinking, and legal analysis is thinking. Race and ethnicity might have an effect on your thinking — in that it may involve various personal experiences and feelings of identification — but it is not a characteristic that you have by deciding to have it or by believing you have it. Religion is different.
Strangely, though, we are circumspect on the subject of religion. A lot of people seem to think it's wrong to talk about the number of Catholics on the Court, or to state simple facts like: Once Sotomayor is confirmed, there will be 6 Catholics, 2 Jews, and 1 Protestant on the Court. Perhaps this is because it is a quality of mind, internal to the individual. That makes it seem like a private matter. And who knows whether a given individual remains devout in the religion of his or her childhood.
Is it rude to ask? Is atheism still a secret? Why not be open about it, especially when we are inspecting a Supreme Court nominee? This is a mind that is going to be imposing its thoughts on us, probably for decades.