List of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States by court composition

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The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest ranking judicial body in the United States. Established by Article III of the Constitution, the detailed structure of the Court was laid down by the 1st United States Congress in 1789. Congress specified the Court's original and appellate jurisdiction, created 13 judicial districts, and fixed the initial size of the Supreme Court. The number of justices on the Supreme Court changed six times before settling at the present total of nine in 1869.[1] A total of 114 justices have served on the Supreme Court since 1789. Justices have life tenure, and so they serve until they die in office, resign or retire, or are impeached and removed from office.

The graphical timeline below lists the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States by court composition. As Supreme Court historians categorize eras in the court's history by the name of the presiding chief justice,[2] the timeline is divided into sections, according to who was chief justice at the time. The incumbent associate justices at the start of each court era are listed in order of their seniority at that time. Justices joining the Court during an era are listed below them in the order of their appointment. The bars are color-coded to show the changes in seniority among the justices during each era.

List of justices[edit]

Jay Court[edit]

The Jay Court era, under the leadership of John Jay, lasted from February 2, 1790, when the Court held its inaugural session,[3] to June 29, 1795.[4] The Judiciary Act of 1789 set the number of Supreme Court justices at six: one chief justice and five associate justices.[5]

William Paterson (judge)Thomas Johnson (jurist)James IredellJohn Blair Jr.James WilsonWilliam CushingJohn RutledgeJohn Jay

Note: The red vertical line denotes September 24, 1789, the date on which the U.S. federal judiciary was established by Congress.
        The green vertical line denotes February 2, 1790, the date on which the U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time.

Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice

Rutledge Court[edit]

The Rutledge Court era, under the leadership of John Rutledge, lasted from August 12, 1795, when Rutledge received a recess appointment from President Washington to serve as chief justice, through late-December 1795, following the U.S. Senate's rejection of his nomination to a lifetime appointment to the chief justice position. Rutledge had previously served on the Court from 1790 to 1791 as an associate justice.[6]

William Paterson (judge)James IredellJohn Blair Jr.James WilsonWilliam CushingJohn Rutledge
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice

Ellsworth Court[edit]

The Ellsworth Court era, under the leadership of Oliver Ellsworth, lasted from March 8, 1796 to December 15, 1800.

Alfred MooreBushrod WashingtonSamuel ChaseWilliam Paterson (judge)James IredellJames WilsonWilliam CushingOliver Ellsworth
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice

Marshall Court[edit]

The Marshall Court era lasted from February 4, 1801 to July 6, 1835. In 1807, Congress passed the Seventh Circuit Act, which added a sixth associate justice to the Supreme Court.[7]

James Moore WayneHenry Baldwin (judge)John McLeanRobert TrimbleSmith ThompsonJoseph StoryGabriel DuvallThomas ToddHenry Brockholst LivingstonWilliam Johnson (judge)Alfred MooreBushrod WashingtonSamuel ChaseWilliam Paterson (judge)William CushingJohn Marshall

Note: + denotes new seat

Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice

Taney Court[edit]

The Taney Court era, under the leadership of Roger Taney, lasted from March 28, 1836 to October 12, 1864. Two associate justice seats were added to the Court in 1837, as a result of the Eighth and Ninth Circuits Act;[8] another one was added in 1863, by the Tenth Circuit Act, enlarging the Court to 10 justices.[9]

Stephen Johnson FieldDavid Davis (Supreme Court justice)Samuel Freeman MillerNoah Haynes SwayneNathan CliffordJohn Archibald CampbellBenjamin Robbins CurtisRobert Cooper GrierLevi WoodburySamuel NelsonPeter Vivian DanielJohn McKinleyJohn CatronPhilip Pendleton BarbourJames Moore WayneHenry Baldwin (judge)John McLeanSmith ThompsonJoseph StoryRoger Taney

Note: + denotes new seat

Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice •        9th assoc. justice

Chase Court[edit]

The Chase Court era, under the leadership of Salmon P. Chase. lasted from December 15, 1864 to May 7, 1873. Two associate justice seats were abolished as a result of the Judicial Circuits Act of 1866, which provided for the gradual elimination of seats on the Court until there would be seven justices.[10] The size of the Court was later restored to nine members through the Circuit Judges Act of 1869.[11]

Ward HuntJoseph P. BradleyWilliam Strong (Pennsylvania judge)Stephen Johnson FieldDavid Davis (Supreme Court justice)Samuel Freeman MillerNoah Haynes SwayneNathan CliffordRobert Cooper GrierSamuel NelsonJohn CatronJames Moore WayneSalmon P. Chase

Note: + denotes new seat

Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice •        9th assoc. justice

Waite Court[edit]

The Waite Court era, under the leadership of Morrison Waite, lasted from March 4, 1874 to March 23, 1888.

Lucius Q. C. LamarSamuel BlatchfordHorace GrayStanley Matthews (lawyer)William Burnham WoodsJohn Marshall HarlanWard HuntJoseph P. BradleyWilliam Strong (Pennsylvania judge)Stephen Johnson FieldDavid Davis (Supreme Court justice)Samuel Freeman MillerNoah Haynes SwayneNathan CliffordMorrison Waite
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

Fuller Court[edit]

The Fuller Court era, under the leadership of Melville Fuller, lasted from October 10, 1888 to July 4, 1910.

Horace Harmon LurtonWilliam Henry MoodyWilliam R. DayOliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.Joseph McKennaRufus Wheeler PeckhamEdward Douglass WhiteHowell Edmunds JacksonGeorge Shiras, Jr.Henry Billings BrownDavid Josiah BrewerLucius Q. C. LamarSamuel BlatchfordHorace GrayStanley Matthews (lawyer)John Marshall HarlanJoseph P. BradleyStephen Johnson FieldSamuel Freeman MillerMelville Fuller
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

White Court[edit]

The White Court era, under the leadership of Edward Douglass White, lasted from December 19, 1910 to May 19, 1921. White had been an associate Supreme Court justice for 16 years, 282 days at the time of his appointment as chief justice.[12]

John Hessin ClarkeLouis BrandeisJames Clark McReynoldsMahlon PitneyJoseph Rucker LamarWillis Van DevanterCharles Evans HughesHorace Harmon LurtonWilliam R. DayOliver Wendell Holmes Jr.Joseph McKennaJohn Marshall HarlanEdward Douglass White
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

Taft Court[edit]

The Taft Court era, under the leadership of William Howard Taft, lasted from July 11, 1921 to February 3, 1930. Taft was also the nation's 27th president (1909–13); he is the only person to serve as both President of the United States and Chief Justice.


Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

Hughes Court[edit]

The Hughes Court era, under the leadership of Charles Evans Hughes, lasted from February 24, 1930 to June 30, 1941. Hughes had previously served on the Court from 1910 to 1916 as an associate justice.[13]

Frank MurphyWilliam O. DouglasFelix FrankfurterStanley Forman ReedHugo BlackBenjamin N. CardozoOwen RobertsHarlan F. StoneEdward Terry SanfordPierce Butler (justice)George SutherlandLouis BrandeisJames Clark McReynoldsWillis Van DevanterOliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.Charles Evans Hughes
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

Stone Court[edit]

The Stone Court era, under the leadership of Harlan F. Stone, lasted from July 3, 1941 to April 22, 1946. Stone had been an associate Supreme Court justice for 16 years, 123 days at the time of his appointment as chief justice.

Harold Hitz BurtonWiley Blount RutledgeRobert H. JacksonJames F. ByrnesFrank MurphyWilliam O. DouglasFelix FrankfurterStanley Forman ReedHugo BlackOwen RobertsHarlan F. Stone
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

Vinson Court[edit]

The Vinson Court era, under the leadership of Fred M. Vinson, lasted from June 24, 1946 to September 8, 1953.

Sherman MintonTom C. ClarkHarold Hitz BurtonWiley Blount RutledgeRobert H. JacksonFrank MurphyWilliam O. DouglasFelix FrankfurterStanley Forman ReedHugo BlackFred M. Vinson
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

Warren Court[edit]

The Warren Court era, under the leadership of Earl Warren, lasted from October 5, 1953,[14] after Warren received a recess appointment from President Eisenhower to serve as chief justice, to June 23, 1969.[15]

Thurgood MarshallAbe FortasArthur GoldbergByron WhitePotter StewartCharles Evans WhittakerWilliam J. Brennan, Jr.John Marshall Harlan IISherman MintonTom C. ClarkHarold Hitz BurtonRobert H. JacksonWilliam O. DouglasFelix FrankfurterStanley Forman ReedHugo BlackEarl Warren
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

Burger Court[edit]

The Burger Court era, under the leadership of Warren E. Burger, lasted from June 23, 1969 to September 26, 1986.

Sandra Day O'ConnorJohn Paul StevensWilliam RehnquistLewis F. Powell Jr.Harry BlackmunThurgood MarshallByron WhitePotter StewartWilliam J. Brennan Jr.John Marshall Harlan IIWilliam O. DouglasHugo BlackWarren E. Burger
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

Rehnquist Court[edit]

The Rehnquist Court era, under the leadership of William Rehnquist, lasted from September 26, 1986 to September 3, 2005. Rehnquist had been an associate Supreme Court justice for 14 years, 285 days at the time of his appointment as chief justice.

Stephen BreyerRuth Bader GinsburgClarence ThomasDavid SouterAnthony KennedyAntonin ScaliaSandra Day O'ConnorJohn Paul StevensLewis F. Powell Jr.Harry BlackmunThurgood MarshallByron WhiteWilliam J. Brennan Jr.William Rehnquist
Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

Roberts Court[edit]

The Roberts Court era, under the leadership of John Roberts, began September 29, 2005 and is ongoing.

Brett KavanaughNeil GorsuchElena KaganSonia SotomayorSamuel AlitoStephen BreyerRuth Bader GinsburgClarence ThomasDavid SouterAnthony KennedyAntonin ScaliaSandra Day O'ConnorJohn Paul StevensJohn Roberts

Note: The bronze vertical line denotes "now" (June 2019).

Seniority key:
          Chief justice •        1st assoc. justice •        2nd assoc. justice •        3rd assoc. justice •        4th assoc. justice •        5th assoc justice •        6th assoc. justice •        7th assoc. justice •        8th assoc. justice

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Court as an Institution". www.supremecourt.gov. Supreme Court of the United States. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  2. ^ "10 fascinating facts about the Supreme Court on its birthday". Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. September 24, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  3. ^ Hodak, George (February 1, 2011). "February 2, 1790: Supreme Court Holds Inaugural Session". abajournal.com. Chicago, Illinois: American Bar Association. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  4. ^ "John Jay, 1789-1795". Washington, D.C.: The Supreme Court Historical Society. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  5. ^ "Landmark Legislation: Judiciary Act of 1789". Washington, D.C.: Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "John Rutledge, 1795". Washington, D.C.: The Supreme Court Historical Society. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  7. ^ "Landmark Legislation: Seventh Circuit". Washington, D.C.: Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  8. ^ "Landmark Legislation: Eighth and Ninth Circuits". Washington, D.C.: Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  9. ^ "Landmark Legislation: Tenth Circuit". Washington, D.C.: Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  10. ^ "Landmark Legislation: Reorganization of the Judicial Circuits". Washington, D.C.: Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  11. ^ "Landmark Legislation: Circuit Judgeships". Washington, D.C.: Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  12. ^ "Edward Douglass White, 1910-1921". Washington, D.C.: The Supreme Court Historical Society. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  13. ^ "Charles Evans Hughes, 1930-1941". Washington, D.C.: The Supreme Court Historical Society. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  14. ^ "Warren sworn in as U.S. chief justice". The Sacramento Bee. May 19, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  15. ^ "Earl Warren, 1953-1969". Washington, D.C.: The Supreme Court Historical Society. Retrieved December 7, 2018.