For Educators

Religion and Politics: The Battle Over the Judiciary – Background


Every U.S. President has been affiliated with a particular religion and usually that affiliation has some effect on the choices voters make. Additionally, many religious groups have traditionally voted either along Democratic or Republican party lines. However, in the 2004 presidential election, traditional voting patterns of certain religious groups shifted. For instance, a larger number of Evangelical Protestants voted than ever before and a larger number of Catholics voted Republican than ever before.

In this lesson students will explore how particular religious blocs voted in the 2004 presidential election and how the hopes and/or expectations of these religious voters are impacting the second term of George W. Bush. Students will then consider the impact of religion on politics by investigating the controversy over judicial nominees, proposing a research topic, and presenting their findings to their fellow students.

Grade Level:

Grades 9-12

Time Allotment:

This lesson can be carried out over 4 classes at 45 minutes per class or over several weeks depending on the level of interest and time allowed for the group presentations.

Subject Matter:

Social Studies, Civics, Religion, Language Arts

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Learn about the voting patterns of specific religious blocs in the 2004 election.
  • Recognize that voting patterns among religious blocs have evolved overtime.
  • Investigate the potential impact of the hopes and wishes of religious groups on politics and public policy.
  • Propose a research topic to explore the controversy over the intersection of religion and politics through the lens of judicial nominations.
  • Present their findings on their judicial nominee research topic.
  • Reflect on their experience of working within a group.


This lesson was prepared by: Ellen Lenihan