Catholic and Evangelical Supreme Court Justices: A Theological Analysis

Robert F. Cochran Jr.

Pepperdine University School of Law


University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2006

The last three decades have witnessed a substantial growth in Catholic and evangelical influence on public life in the United States. Cochran considers the approaches that Catholics and evangelicals have taken toward culture and considers three aspects of Catholic and evangelical theology that are likely to influence law: the nature of law, community, and religious freedom. Cochran argues that the Catholic doctrines help to explain the substantial growth in the number of Catholics appointed to the Court in recent decades. He argues that it is not that presidents who nominate, citizens who support, and senators who confirm Catholic candidates to the Court are necessarily aware of the Catholic doctrines. Cochran reasons that candidates formed in a Catholic culture that is shaped by these doctrines develop habits of thinking that make them attractive Supreme Court candidates. Many legal scholars, both liberal and conservative, argue for very different reasons that religious faith has no place in legal decision making. Cochran considers that position and argues that while the range of cases in which religiously grounded insights affect judges' decisions should be narrow, religious influences in some cases are both unavoidable and valuable.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: Catholic, evangelical, supreme court, justices

JEL Classification: K49

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Date posted: October 27, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Cochran, Robert F., Catholic and Evangelical Supreme Court Justices: A Theological Analysis (2006). University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2006. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1290830

Contact Information

Robert F. Cochran Jr. (Contact Author)
Pepperdine University School of Law ( email )
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States
310-456-4684 (Phone)
310-456-4063 (Fax)
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