Religious Diversity and the Supreme Court

Feminist epistemologists have often argued for the importance of a diversity of perspectives in a community of enquirers. (A variety of reasons have been given, including the counteracting of pernicious elements of each others’ biases and each perspective being particularly conducive to understanding particular parts of the truth.) Well, the Supreme Court is at least arguably a community of enquirers. And it’s about to lose its only Protestant Justice, the superb John Paul Stevens, leaving 6 Catholics (6!) and 2 Jews. Should we, then, want to ensure that Protestantism remains represented? I’m not sure. One point against it is the thought that Protestantism is already amply represented in the long history of case law which is meant to guide its rulings. Another thought might be the standpoint theory-inspired one that what we really need are the standpoints of the less powerful groups, as they’ll be able to see the stuff the rest of us miss. That might lead one to suggest a Hindu, a Muslim or– gasp!– an atheist. But nah, that’s just too out there, isn’t it?

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