List of United States Supreme Court Justices by time in office

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A total of 113 people have served on the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest judicial body in the United States, since it was established in 1789. Supreme Court justices have life tenure, and so they serve until they die, resign or retire, or are impeached and removed from office. For the 105 non-incumbent justices, the average length of service was 6,203 days (16 years, 359 days).[1][A] Their length of service ranges from William O. Douglas's 13,358 days (36 years, 209 days) on the Court to the 163-day tenure of Thomas Johnson. Among the current members of the Court, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is the longest-serving justice, with a tenure of 9,794 days (26 years, 297 days) as of August 16, 2018.

The table below ranks all United States Supreme Court Justices by time in office.[B] For five individuals confirmed for associate justice, and later confirmed for chief justice separately—Charles Evans Hughes, William Rehnquist, John Rutledge, Harlan F. Stone, and Edward Douglass White—their cumulative length of service on the Court is measured. The basis of the ranking is the difference between dates; if counted by number of calendar days all the figures would be one greater, with the exception of Charles Evans Hughes and John Rutledge, who would receive two days, as each served on the Court twice (their service as associate justice and as chief justice was separated by a period of years off the Court). The start date given for each justice is the day he or she took the prescribed oath of office, with the end date being the date of the justice's death, resignation, or retirement. A highlighted row indicates a justice currently serving on the Court.

Justices by time in office[edit]

Longest Supreme Court tenure
Williamodouglas.jpg
13,358 days
(1939–1975)
Stephen Johnson Field, photo half length seated, 1875.jpg
12,614 days
(1863–1897)
Shortest Supreme Court tenure
JamesFByrnesSoS.jpg
452 days
(1941–1942)
Thomas Johnson (governor).jpeg
163 days
(1792–1793)
Rank Justice Length
in days
Start date[3] End date[3]
1 William O. Douglas 13,358 April 17, 1939 November 12, 1975
2 Stephen Johnson Field 12,614 May 20, 1863 December 1, 1897
3 John Paul Stevens 12,611 December 19, 1975 June 29, 2010
4 John Marshall[C] 12,570 February 4, 1801 July 6, 1835
5 Hugo Black 12,447 August 19, 1937 September 17, 1971
6 John Marshall Harlan 12,360 December 10, 1877 October 14, 1911
7 William J. Brennan Jr. 12,330 October 16, 1956 July 20, 1990
8 William Rehnquist[C] 12,293[D] January 7, 1972
September 26, 1986
September 26, 1986
September 3, 2005
9 Joseph Story 12,273 February 3, 1812 September 10, 1845
10 James Moore Wayne 11,860 January 14, 1835 July 5, 1867
11 John McLean 11,406 January 11, 1830 April 4, 1861
12 Byron White 11,396 April 16, 1962 June 28, 1993
13 Bushrod Washington 11,252 February 4, 1799 November 26, 1829
14 Anthony Kennedy 11,121 February 18, 1988 July 31, 2018
15 William Johnson 11,046 May 7, 1804 August 4, 1834
16 Antonin Scalia 10,732 September 26, 1986 February 13, 2016
17 Oliver Wendell Holmes 10,627 December 8, 1902 January 12, 1932
18 Roger B. Taney[C] 10,425 March 28, 1836 October 12, 1864
19 Samuel Freeman Miller 10,311 July 21, 1862 October 13, 1890
20 John Catron 10,256 May 1, 1837 May 30, 1865
21 Samuel Nelson 10,136 February 27, 1845 November 28, 1872
22 Edward Douglass White[C] 9,929[D] March 12, 1894
December 19, 1910
December 19, 1910
May 19, 1921
23 Joseph McKenna 9,840 January 26, 1898 January 5, 1925
24 Clarence Thomas 9,794[E] October 23, 1991 Incumbent
25 Willis Van Devanter 9,647 January 3, 1911 June 2, 1937
26 James Clark McReynolds 9,608 October 12, 1914 January 31, 1941
27 Ruth Bader Ginsburg 9,137[E] August 10, 1993 Incumbent
28 Sandra Day O'Connor 8,894 September 25, 1981 January 31, 2006
29 Harry Blackmun 8,821 June 9, 1970 August 3, 1994
30 Stephen Breyer 8,779[E] August 3, 1994 Incumbent
30 Thurgood Marshall 8,765 October 2, 1967 October 1, 1991
32 Felix Frankfurter 8,611 January 30, 1939 August 28, 1962
33 Nathan Clifford 8,586 January 21, 1858 July 25, 1881
34 Robert Cooper Grier 8,575 August 10, 1846 January 31, 1870
35 Gabriel Duvall 8,453 November 23, 1811 January 14, 1835
36 Potter Stewart 8,298 October 14, 1958 July 3, 1981
37 Louis Brandeis 8,288 June 5, 1916 February 13, 1939
38 Joseph P. Bradley 7,975 March 23, 1870 January 22, 1892
39 Melville Fuller[C] 7,938 October 8, 1888 July 4, 1910
40 Harlan F. Stone[C] 7,721[D] March 2, 1925
July 3, 1941
July 2, 1941
April 22, 1946
41 Horace Gray 7,553 January 9, 1882 September 15, 1902
42 William Cushing 7,527 February 2, 1790 September 13, 1810
43 Smith Thompson 7,413 September 1, 1823 December 18, 1843
44 David Josiah Brewer 7,385 January 6, 1890 March 28, 1910
45 William R. Day 7,196 March 2, 1903 November 13, 1922
46 Stanley Forman Reed 6,965 January 31, 1938 February 25, 1957
47 Noah Haynes Swayne 6,937 January 27, 1862 January 24, 1881
48 Thomas Todd 6,854 May 4, 1807 February 7, 1826
49 David Souter 6,838 October 9, 1990 June 29, 2009
50 Peter Vivian Daniel 6,716 January 10, 1842 May 31, 1860
51 Tom C. Clark 6,501 August 24, 1949 June 12, 1967
52 Warren E. Burger[C] 6,304 June 23, 1969 September 26, 1986
53 Charles Evans Hughes[C] 6,214[D] October 10, 1910
February 24, 1930
June 10, 1916
June 30, 1941
54 Pierce Butler 6,162 January 2, 1923 November 16, 1939
55 John Marshall Harlan II 6,023 March 28, 1955 September 23, 1971
56 Henry Brockholst Livingston 5,901 January 20, 1807 March 18, 1823
57 Earl Warren[C] 5,740 October 5, 1953 June 23, 1969
58 Lewis Franklin Powell 5,649 January 7, 1972 June 26, 1987
59 Henry Billings Brown 5,621 January 5, 1891 May 28, 1906
60 Samuel Chase 5,613 February 4, 1796 June 19, 1811
61 George Sutherland 5,586 October 2, 1922 January 17, 1938
62 Owen Roberts 5,538 June 2, 1930 July 31, 1945
63 John McKinley 5,305 January 9, 1838 July 19, 1852
64 Henry Baldwin 5,207 January 18, 1830 April 21, 1844
65 David Davis 5,198 December 10, 1862 March 4, 1877
66 Morrison Waite[C] 5,133 March 4, 1874 March 23, 1888
67 Rufus Wheeler Peckham 5,039 January 6, 1896 October 24, 1909
68 William Paterson 4,929 March 11, 1793 September 9, 1806
69 Robert H. Jackson 4,838 July 11, 1941 October 9, 1954
70 Harold Hitz Burton 4,760 October 1, 1945 October 13, 1958
71 John Roberts[C] 4,704[E] September 29, 2005 Incumbent
72 Samuel Alito 4,580[E] January 31, 2006 Incumbent
73 Samuel Blatchford 4,113 April 3, 1882 July 7, 1893
74 Mahlon Pitney 3,940 March 18, 1912 December 31, 1922
75 William Strong 3,928 March 14, 1870 December 14, 1880
76 George Shiras Jr. 3,787 October 10, 1892 February 23, 1903
77 Frank Murphy 3,452 February 5, 1940 July 19, 1949
78 James Iredell 3,448 May 12, 1790 October 20, 1799
79 Ward Hunt 3,305 January 9, 1873 January 27, 1882
80 Sonia Sotomayor 3,295[E] August 8, 2009 Incumbent
81 James Wilson 3,242 October 5, 1789 August 21, 1798
82 William Howard Taft[C] 3,129 July 11, 1921 February 3, 1930
83 Salmon P. Chase[C] 3,065 December 15, 1864 May 7, 1873
84 John Archibald Campbell 2,941 April 11, 1853 April 30, 1861
85 Elena Kagan 2,931[E] August 7, 2010 Incumbent
86 Stanley Matthews 2,866 May 17, 1881 March 22, 1889
87 Fred M. Vinson[C] 2,633 June 24, 1946 September 8, 1953
88 Edward Terry Sanford 2,574 February 19, 1923 March 8, 1930
89 Sherman Minton 2,560 October 12, 1949 October 15, 1956
90 Wiley Blount Rutledge 2,399 February 15, 1943 September 10, 1949
91 William Burnham Woods 2,320 January 5, 1881 May 14, 1887
92 Benjamin N. Cardozo 2,308 March 14, 1932 July 9, 1938
93 Benjamin Robbins Curtis 2,182 October 10, 1851 September 30, 1857
94 Levi Woodbury 2,172 September 23, 1845 September 4, 1851
95 John Hessin Clarke 2,170 October 9, 1916 September 18, 1922
96 John Blair 2,091 February 2, 1790 October 25, 1795
97 John Jay[C] 2,079 October 19, 1789 June 29, 1795
98 (tie) Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar 1,832 January 18, 1888 January 23, 1893
Charles Evans Whittaker 1,832 March 25, 1957 March 31, 1962
100 Joseph Rucker Lamar 1,825 January 3, 1911 January 2, 1916
101 Philip Pendleton Barbour 1,750 May 12, 1836 February 25, 1841
102 Oliver Ellsworth[C] 1,742 March 8, 1796 December 15, 1800
103 Horace Harmon Lurton 1,651 January 3, 1910 July 12, 1914
104 William Henry Moody 1,434 December 17, 1906 November 20, 1910
105 Alfred Moore 1,375 April 21, 1800 January 26, 1804
106 Abe Fortas 1,318 October 4, 1965 May 14, 1969
107 Arthur Goldberg 1,028 October 1, 1962 July 25, 1965
108 Howell Edmunds Jackson 887 March 4, 1893 August 8, 1895
109 Robert Trimble 801 June 16, 1826 August 25, 1828
110 John Rutledge[C] 563[D] February 15, 1790
July 1, 1795
March 5, 1791
December 28, 1795
111 Neil Gorsuch 493[E] April 10, 2017 Incumbent
112 James F. Byrnes 452 July 8, 1941 October 3, 1942
113 Thomas Johnson 163 August 6, 1792 January 16, 1793

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Average tenure in office has increased significantly over the past half-century. In 1970, the average tenure in office (for the 89 justices who had left the Court prior to 1970) was about fifteen years.[2]
  2. ^ A nominee who was confirmed by the United States Senate but declined to serve, such as Robert H. Harrison, or who died before taking the necessary steps toward becoming a member of the Court, such as Edwin M. Stanton, is not considered to have served as a justice, and thus is not included on this list.[3]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Served as chief justice
  4. ^ a b c d e Tenure as associate justice and chief justice combined
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h As of August 16, 2018

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wellford, Rachel (July 9, 2018). "More than 2 centuries of Supreme Court justices, in 18 numbers". PBS NewsHour. Arlington County, Virginia: NewsHour Productions (WETA-TV). Retrieved August 3, 2018. 
  2. ^ Cramton, Roger C. (Fall 2007). "Reforming the Supreme Court". California Law Review. 95: 1313–1334 (at p.1316). Retrieved August 3, 2018 – via Cornell Law Faculty Publications. 
  3. ^ a b c "Justices 1789 to Present". Washington, D.C.: Supreme Court of the United States. Retrieved June 23, 2018.