By Conor Clarke

Ann Althouse responds to my original post about the value of diversity on the Supreme Court:

I think religious diversity is particularly important, because it has more to do with the individual's mind. It's part of one's thinking, and legal analysis is thinking. Race and ethnicity might have an effect on your thinking in that it may involve various personal experiences and feelings of identification but it is not a characteristic that you have by deciding to have it or by believing you have it. Religion is different.

I dunno. Two points. First, it seems to me that neither religion nor race necessarily has an impact on one's thinking. Either one can have a big impact, and either one can have no impact at all. Furthermore, describing religious identification as a choice also seems like a bit of a stretch. I went to Catholic high school and would put that on a survey form, but I didn't choose that religious identification in the same way I chose to eat a burrito for lunch.

Second, I'm open to the possibility that diversity can have effects beyond the individual justice's thinking. I'd like to think, for example, that an openly gay justice would have an impact on both public opinion and the other justices on the bench. 

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