October 2, 2010

SCOTUS trivia

How many female Supreme Court justices have there been?

Out of 100 Justices, only four have been female, three of whom remain on the court today. Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1981, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Bill Clinton in 1993. Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan are recently appointed by Barak Obama. Kagan was sworn in today as the 100th Justice of the Supreme Court.

There have been only two black justices. Thurgood Marshall was appointed in 1967 by Lyndon B. Johnson, and the still sitting Clarence Thomas, appointed by George H.W. Bush in 1991. Sotomayor is the first hispanic Justice. 

SCOTUS has historically been a WASP club, but over the years the Court has managed to diversify similarly to U.S. society as a whole... just not quite as quickly. There have now been several Jewish and Catholic justices, but so far none of anything except European or African descent, no avowed atheists or adherents to non judeo-christian religions. 

It might be fun to break this down further into ethnic, religious and cultural divisions. Considering the speculation surrounding Kagan, we could possibly toss in sexual orientation... 

In the end though, does any of this matter?

Now for the trivia question: Only two Supreme Court justices have ever been forced out of office. Who were these, and what was their crime?