Monday, October 31, 2005
Over at "The Volokh Conspiracy", Todd Zywicki has an interesting post called "Alito and the Changing Face of Conservativism," which is a worthwhile companion to Eduardo's earlier observation that the Catholics on the Court today tend to be "conservative" while, in years past, Catholic voters were part of the New Deal and Great Society coalitions. He opens with this:
One of the more interesting elements of the Alito is what it says about the changing face of conservatism in the United States and the general drift of ethnic Catholics (some might say "urban Catholics") toward the Republican Party. Alito, along with Scalia, now makes the second ethnic Catholic to be appointed to the Court (no Poles yet, of course). I have yet to see an in-depth profile of his personal life, but one profile I read this morning indicated that he is the son of an Italian immigrant who worked in the New Jersey State Government, presumably from a relatively modest background (I'm just speculating on that point for now). Thus, three of the most conservative Justices (probably the three most conservative) on the Supreme Court would be a black man raised in Georgia poverty and two Italian-Americans, all Catholic as well. This group traditionally has been Democratic and liberal in orientation, which adds to the puzzle. Perhaps this is simply an isolated coincidence, but I wonder whether this demographic fact says something deeper about the nature of modern conservatism and political alignments in the country.
Also, David Bernstein passes along a helpful "Top Ten" list of things we can expect from a Court with a Catholic majority:
9) Oral arguments in Latin;
7) Collections between each session of oral argument;
6) Supreme Court windows replaced with stained glass;
3) Supreme Court opinions will be deemed infallible and unreviewable by any earthly authority [[original]Ed. - Sorry - that does not appear to be a change at all]
And, the number one change which a Catholic majority would make to the Supreme Court . . .
1) Wednesday night bingo!