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Laws relating to religion

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Impact of appointments on the
balance of the U.S. Supreme Court

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Overview:

The nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are deeply divided in their rulings on religious, cultural, and moral cases. Many, perhaps most, decisions in these areas are by a split vote of 5 to 4. The division in the court mirrors the gulf seen in the rest of American culture, religion, and government. Any change in the delicate ratio of conservative to liberal justices would have a profound effect on the decisions of the Supreme Court, and on the future of the U.S. law and culture.

This concern became widespread when Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate conservative and a swing voter, decided in mid-2005 to retire from the Court. In 2005-SEP, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, a conservative and strict constructionist, died.

Two conservative strict constructionists -- John G. Roberts, and Samuel Alito -- replaced Justice O'Connor and Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, thus shifting the court slightly to the right.

During 2009-APR, Justice David Souter, one of the four liberal judges on the court,  announced his intention to retire. President Obama has nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his replacement.

President Obama is expected to nominate one or two additional Justices during his current term.

Topics covered in this section:

bulletCourt changes, 2005 to 2009
 
bulletJudicial philosophies on the interpretation of constitutions & laws
bulletMore comments
bulletImplications of strict constructionist interpretations
 
bulletThe concept of personal privacy
bulletThe concept of separation of church and state
 
bulletPresident Bush's nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court
bulletResponse to the nomination of Judge John Roberts
bulletResponse to the nomination of Harriet Miers
bulletResponse to the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito
 
bulletPresident Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor:
bulletNomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, hearings, court diversity
bulletSupport, opposition, confirmation

Amazon.com lists the following books about the Supreme Court

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Reference used:

  1. "Harriet Miers," Wikipedia, 2005-OCT-03, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/

Copyright © 2003-2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-JUL-16
Author: B.A. Robinson

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