Supreme Court Demographics, and More from CRS

10.22.09 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

“Over time, the Supreme Court has become more diverse in some ways and more homogeneous in others,” a recent Congressional Research Service report (pdf) observed.

“When first constituted, and throughout most of its history, no women or minorities served on the Court… The religious affiliations of the Court’s members also have changed over time. For almost the first 50 years of the Court, all Justices were affiliated with protestant Christian churches. [Today], six of the nine current Justices identify as Roman Catholic…. Over time, Justices’ legal educations have become more homogeneous…. In the last 20 years, especially, three Ivy League law schools–Harvard, Yale, and Columbia–have been disproportionately represented on the Court.”

“To date, every Supreme Court Justice has been a lawyer. There is, however, no constitutional requirement regarding the educational background of a Justice or the necessity of a law degree.”  See “Supreme Court Justices: Demographic Characteristics, Professional Experience, and Legal Education, 1789-2009,” September 9, 2009.

Other noteworthy new CRS reports that have not been made readily available to the public include the following (all pdf).

“Presidential Terms and Tenure: Perspectives and Proposals for Change,” October 19, 2009.

“The Debate Over Selected Presidential Assistants and Advisors: Appointment, Accountability, and Congressional Oversight,” October 9, 2009.

“Poverty in the United States: 2008,” October 6, 2009.

“Public Safety Communications and Spectrum Resources: Policy Issues for Congress,” October 14, 2009.

“Managing Electronic Waste: Issues with Exporting E-Waste,” October 7, 2009.

“Iraq: Regional Perspectives and U.S. Policy,” October 6, 2009.