Evidence of Sonia Sotomayer’s religion has been hard to come by, but a White House official just confirmed to me that she, in fact, Catholic.
UPDATE 2:10 pm.: Another White House official elaborated slightly, “Judge Sotomayor was raised as a Catholic and attends church for family celebrations and other important events.”
As David Gibson points out, that would mean six of the nine justices would be Catholic.
Why does it matter if she’s Catholic?
Politically, it’s tougher to be a pro-choice Catholic than a pro-choice Protestant, as the former will be cast as not only wrong on the issue but, in effect, a bad catholic. Remember how some bishops argued in 2004 that John Kerry shouldn’t receive communion, prompting reporters track whether, on any given Sunday, Kerry would be denied the sacrament (this became known as the “wafer watch”)
If they’re consistent, the conservative Bishops will surely have to argue that Sotomayor should not receive communion. Will we have a SCOTUS Wafer Watch for Sotomayor?
Of course if she only goes to church on holidays, she may be able to avoid a wafer watch (while no doubt drawing complaints that she’s not religious enough).
And…we don’t actually no for sure that she even is pro-choice.*
Randall Terry of Operation Rescue put it this way: “It will be an uphill battle, but if the GOP will honor its platform, and Catholic Bishops will obey the directives of John Paul II, we could keep Sotomayor off the court.”