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Of the 113 Supreme Court justices in US history, all but 6 have been white men

Posted July 9, 2018 9:51 a.m. EDT

— Since the Supreme Court first convened in 1790, 113 justices have served on the bench.

Of those, 107 have been white men.

With President Trump expected to make his second Supreme Court nomination Monday night, there's a chance the diversity of the court could shift.

Here's how the demographics of the nation's highest court have stacked up since the beginning.

Four have been women

Of the 113 justices, 109 -- or 96.5% -- have been men.

Until 1981, every Supreme Court justice was male. But Ronald Reagan promised he'd put a woman on the court, and during his first year in office he kept that promise by appointing Sandra Day O'Connor.

Before that, presidents had appointed women to lower courts, but no one gave serious thought to putting one on the Supreme Court. President Harry Truman thought about nominating a woman, but justices at the time said they "would inhibit their conference deliberations."

Bill Clinton made the second female appointment by nominating Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993.

And Barack Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor in 2009, followed by Elena Kagan a year later.

Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan all sit on the current court.

Three have been people of color

Only two African-American justices, Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, have served on the court so far.

The first appointment -- when Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Marshall -- wasn't until 1967. When Johnson announced the nomination, he said he thought it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it.

Thomas's appointment happened decades later, in 1991 under George H. W. Bush (the first Bush).

Sotomayor, one of the four female justices, is also the first and only Hispanic justice in history. (Some say Justice Benjamin Cardozo, who was Portuguese, was the first Hispanic member, but he doesn't qualify under current census standards.)

No justices so far have identified as Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander.

7 percent have been Jewish

We've never had a Jewish president, but eight Jewish justices have sat on the bench. Two of them, Ginsburg and Kagan, are current justices.

At its founding, the court was made up of almost entirely Protestant members, and a majority of the 113 justices throughout history have been Protestants.

The court is more diverse today, with five Catholic and three Jewish justices. Neil Gorsuch, who Trump nominated last January, was raised Catholic but now worships at an Episcopal church.

Most of the US population isn't Catholic or Jewish. Of those who are religious in the US, about 23% identify with one of these sets of beliefs, according to the Pew Research Center.

There has never been a Muslim justice on the Supreme Court.

None have identified as anything other than heterosexual

No past or present justices have publicly identified themselves as anything other than straight.

There have been speculations surrounding a few former justices who were lifelong bachelors, but there's no evidence any of them were gay.

Why having a diverse court matters

The Supreme Court has ruled on a diverse set of topics and sees a wide array of cases.

It's laid out decisions that affect many segments of the nation's population, like whether schools should be segregated, whether women can get abortions and if public accommodations can refuse services based on religious beliefs.

The court has heard cases that none of its members can directly relate to. Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage, was decided by nine justices, none of whom have identified as gay.

In 2016, Sotomayor said the court could use more diversity.

"A different perspective can permit you to more fully understand the arguments that are before you and help you articulate your position in a way that everyone will understand," she said.