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Catholic majority seen for Supreme Court

Nov. 1, 2005 at 9:44 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- The Roman Catholic Church could have a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court if Samuel Alito is approved to join the body.

There are currently four Catholics on the court -- Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are Jewish. Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter are Episcopalians and John Paul Stevens is Protestant.

President Bush on Monday nominated Alito, another Catholic, to join the court and replace O'Connor, who announced in July she wished to retire. The president has asked that Alito's confirmation be voted on before the end of the year.

Barbara Perry, a Supreme Court expert at Sweet Briar College in Virginia told The New York Times: "This would add a whole new meaning to the Catholic rite of confirmation. This would mean that the religion factor no longer matters."

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