List of United States Supreme Court justices by time in office

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Longest Supreme Court tenure
Chief justice
Associate justice
John Marshall by Henry Inman, 1832.jpg
12,570 days
(1801–1835)
Williamodouglas.jpg
13,358 days
(1939–1975)

A total of 116 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, retire, or are impeached and removed from office. For the 107 non-incumbent justices, the average length of service was 6,203 days (16 years, 359 days).[1][A] The longest serving justice was William O. Douglas, with a tenure of 13,358 days (36 years, 209 days). The longest serving chief justice was John Marshall, with a tenure of 12,570 days (34 years, 152 days). John Rutledge, who served on the court twice, was both the shortest serving associate justice, with a tenure of 383 days (1 year, 18 days), and the shortest serving chief justice, with a tenure of 138 days (4 months 16 days). Among the current members of the court, Clarence Thomas's tenure of 11,419 days (31 years, 96 days)[B] is the longest, while Ketanji Brown Jackson's 211 days (211 days)[B] is the shortest.

The table below ranks all United States Supreme Court justices by time in office.[C] For five individuals confirmed for associate justice, and who later served as chief justice—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 they 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]

Rank Justice Length
in days
Length
in years and days
Start date[3] End date[3]
1 William O. Douglas 13,358 36 years, 209 days April 17, 1939 November 12, 1975
2 Stephen Johnson Field 12,614 34 years, 195 days May 20, 1863 December 1, 1897
3 John Paul Stevens 12,611 34 years, 192 days December 19, 1975 June 29, 2010
4 John Marshall   (CJ) 12,570 34 years, 152 days February 4, 1801 July 6, 1835
5 Hugo Black 12,447 34 years, 29 days August 19, 1937 September 17, 1971
6 John Marshall Harlan 12,360 33 years, 308 days December 10, 1877 October 14, 1911
7 William J. Brennan Jr. 12,330 33 years, 277 days October 16, 1956 July 20, 1990
8 William Rehnquist   (CJ) 12,293[D] 33 years, 239 days January 7, 1972
September 26, 1986
September 26, 1986
September 3, 2005
9 Joseph Story 12,273 33 years, 219 days February 3, 1812 September 10, 1845
10 James Moore Wayne 11,860 32 years, 172 days January 14, 1835 July 5, 1867
11 John McLean 11,711 32 years, 23 days March 12, 1829 April 4, 1861
12 Clarence Thomas 11,419[B] 31 years, 96 days October 23, 1991 Incumbent
13 Byron White 11,396 31 years, 73 days April 16, 1962 June 28, 1993
14 Bushrod Washington 11,339 31 years, 17 days November 9, 1798 November 26, 1829
15 Anthony Kennedy 11,121 30 years, 163 days February 18, 1988 July 31, 2018
16 William Johnson 11,046 30 years, 89 days May 7, 1804 August 4, 1834
17 Antonin Scalia 10,732 29 years, 140 days September 26, 1986 February 13, 2016
18 Oliver Wendell Holmes 10,627 29 years, 35 days December 8, 1902 January 12, 1932
19 Roger B. Taney   (CJ) 10,425 28 years, 198 days March 28, 1836 October 12, 1864
20 Samuel Freeman Miller 10,311 28 years, 84 days July 21, 1862 October 13, 1890
21 John Catron 10,256 28 years, 29 days May 1, 1837 May 30, 1865
22 Stephen Breyer 10,193 27 years, 331 days August 3, 1994 June 30, 2022
23 Samuel Nelson 10,136 27 years, 275 days February 27, 1845 November 28, 1872
24 Edward Douglass White   (CJ) 9,929[E] 27 years, 68 days March 12, 1894
December 19, 1910
December 19, 1910
May 19, 1921
25 Ruth Bader Ginsburg 9,901 27 years, 39 days August 10, 1993 September 18, 2020
26 Joseph McKenna 9,840 26 years, 345 days January 26, 1898 January 5, 1925
27 Willis Van Devanter 9,647 26 years, 150 days January 3, 1911 June 2, 1937
28 James Clark McReynolds 9,608 26 years, 111 days October 12, 1914 January 31, 1941
29 Sandra Day O'Connor 8,894 24 years, 128 days September 25, 1981 January 31, 2006
30 Harry Blackmun 8,821 24 years, 55 days June 9, 1970 August 3, 1994
31 Thurgood Marshall 8,765 23 years, 364 days October 2, 1967 October 1, 1991
32 Felix Frankfurter 8,611 23 years, 210 days January 30, 1939 August 28, 1962
33 Nathan Clifford 8,586 23 years, 185 days January 21, 1858 July 25, 1881
34 Robert Cooper Grier 8,575 23 years, 174 days August 10, 1846 January 31, 1870
35 Gabriel Duvall 8,453 23 years, 52 days November 23, 1811 January 14, 1835
36 Potter Stewart 8,298 22 years, 262 days October 14, 1958 July 3, 1981
37 Louis Brandeis 8,288 22 years, 253 days June 5, 1916 February 13, 1939
38 Joseph P. Bradley 7,975 21 years, 305 days March 23, 1870 January 22, 1892
39 Melville Fuller   (CJ) 7,938 21 years, 269 days October 8, 1888 July 4, 1910
40 Harlan F. Stone   (CJ) 7,721[F] 21 years, 51 days March 2, 1925
July 3, 1941
July 2, 1941
April 22, 1946
41 Horace Gray 7,553 20 years, 249 days January 9, 1882 September 15, 1902
42 William Cushing 7,527 20 years, 223 days February 2, 1790 September 13, 1810
43 Smith Thompson 7,413 20 years, 108 days September 1, 1823 December 18, 1843
44 David Josiah Brewer 7,385 20 years, 81 days January 6, 1890 March 28, 1910
45 William R. Day 7,196 19 years, 256 days March 2, 1903 November 13, 1922
46 Stanley Forman Reed 6,965 19 years, 25 days January 31, 1938 February 25, 1957
47 Noah Haynes Swayne 6,937 18 years, 363 days January 27, 1862 January 24, 1881
48 Thomas Todd 6,854 18 years, 279 days May 4, 1807 February 7, 1826
49 David Souter 6,838 18 years, 263 days October 9, 1990 June 29, 2009
50 Peter V. Daniel 6,716 18 years, 142 days January 10, 1842 May 31, 1860
51 Tom C. Clark 6,501 17 years, 292 days August 24, 1949 June 12, 1967
52 John Roberts   (CJ) 6,329[B] 17 years, 120 days September 29, 2005 Incumbent
53 Warren E. Burger   (CJ) 6,304 17 years, 95 days June 23, 1969 September 26, 1986
54 Charles Evans Hughes   (CJ) 6,214[G] 17 years, 5 days October 10, 1910
February 24, 1930
June 10, 1916
June 30, 1941
55 Samuel Alito 6,205[B] 16 years, 361 days January 31, 2006 Incumbent
56 Pierce Butler 6,162 16 years, 318 days January 2, 1923 November 16, 1939
57 John Marshall Harlan II 6,023 16 years, 179 days March 28, 1955 September 23, 1971
58 Henry Brockholst Livingston 5,901 16 years, 57 days January 20, 1807 March 18, 1823
59 Earl Warren   (CJ) 5,740 15 years, 261 days October 5, 1953 June 23, 1969
60 Lewis Franklin Powell 5,649 15 years, 170 days January 7, 1972 June 26, 1987
61 Henry Billings Brown 5,621 15 years, 143 days January 5, 1891 May 28, 1906
62 Samuel Chase 5,613 15 years, 135 days February 4, 1796 June 19, 1811
63 George Sutherland 5,586 15 years, 107 days October 2, 1922 January 17, 1938
64 Owen Roberts 5,538 15 years, 59 days June 2, 1930 July 31, 1945
65 John McKinley 5,305 14 years, 192 days January 9, 1838 July 19, 1852
66 Henry Baldwin 5,207 14 years, 94 days January 18, 1830 April 21, 1844
67 David Davis 5,198 14 years, 84 days December 10, 1862 March 4, 1877
68 Morrison Waite   (CJ) 5,133 14 years, 19 days March 4, 1874 March 23, 1888
69 Rufus W. Peckham 5,039 13 years, 291 days January 6, 1896 October 24, 1909
70 William Paterson 4,929 13 years, 182 days March 11, 1793 September 9, 1806
71 Sonia Sotomayor 4,920[B] 13 years, 172 days August 8, 2009 Incumbent
72 Robert H. Jackson 4,838 13 years, 90 days July 11, 1941 October 9, 1954
73 Harold Hitz Burton 4,760 13 years, 12 days October 1, 1945 October 13, 1958
74 Elena Kagan 4,556[B] 12 years, 173 days August 7, 2010 Incumbent
75 Samuel Blatchford 4,113 11 years, 95 days April 3, 1882 July 7, 1893
76 Mahlon Pitney 3,940 10 years, 288 days March 18, 1912 December 31, 1922
77 William Strong 3,928 10 years, 275 days March 14, 1870 December 14, 1880
78 George Shiras Jr. 3,787 10 years, 136 days October 10, 1892 February 23, 1903
79 Frank Murphy 3,452 9 years, 164 days February 5, 1940 July 19, 1949
80 James Iredell 3,448 9 years, 161 days May 12, 1790 October 20, 1799
81 Ward Hunt 3,305 9 years, 18 days January 9, 1873 January 27, 1882
82 James Wilson 3,242 8 years, 320 days October 5, 1789 August 21, 1798
83 William Howard Taft   (CJ) 3,129 8 years, 207 days July 11, 1921 February 3, 1930
84 Salmon P. Chase   (CJ) 3,065 8 years, 143 days December 15, 1864 May 7, 1873
85 John Archibald Campbell 2,941 8 years, 19 days April 11, 1853 April 30, 1861
86 Stanley Matthews 2,866 7 years, 309 days May 17, 1881 March 22, 1889
87 Fred M. Vinson   (CJ) 2,633 7 years, 76 days June 24, 1946 September 8, 1953
88 Edward Terry Sanford 2,574 7 years, 17 days February 19, 1923 March 8, 1930
89 Sherman Minton 2,560 7 years, 3 days October 12, 1949 October 15, 1956
90 Wiley Blount Rutledge 2,399 6 years, 207 days February 15, 1943 September 10, 1949
91 William Burnham Woods 2,320 6 years, 129 days January 5, 1881 May 14, 1887
92 Benjamin N. Cardozo 2,308 6 years, 117 days March 14, 1932 July 9, 1938
93 Benjamin Robbins Curtis 2,182 5 years, 355 days October 10, 1851 September 30, 1857
94 Levi Woodbury 2,172 5 years, 346 days September 23, 1845 September 4, 1851
95 John Hessin Clarke 2,170 5 years, 344 days October 9, 1916 September 18, 1922
96 Neil Gorsuch 2,118[B] 5 years, 292 days April 10, 2017 Incumbent
97 John Blair 2,091 5 years, 265 days February 2, 1790 October 25, 1795
98 John Jay   (CJ) 2,079 5 years, 253 days October 19, 1789 June 29, 1795
99 (tie) Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar 1,832 5 years, 5 days January 18, 1888 January 23, 1893
Charles Evans Whittaker 1,832 5 years, 6 days March 25, 1957 March 31, 1962
101 Joseph Rucker Lamar 1,825 4 years, 364 days January 3, 1911 January 2, 1916
102 Philip P. Barbour 1,750 4 years, 289 days May 12, 1836 February 25, 1841
103 Oliver Ellsworth   (CJ) 1,742 4 years, 282 days March 8, 1796 December 15, 1800
104 Horace Harmon Lurton 1,651 4 years, 190 days January 3, 1910 July 12, 1914
105 Brett Kavanaugh 1,574[B] 4 years, 113 days October 6, 2018 Incumbent
106 William Henry Moody 1,434 3 years, 338 days December 17, 1906 November 20, 1910
107 Alfred Moore 1,375 3 years, 280 days April 21, 1800 January 26, 1804
108 Abe Fortas 1,318 3 years, 222 days October 4, 1965 May 14, 1969
109 Arthur Goldberg 1,028 2 years, 297 days October 1, 1962 July 25, 1965
110 Howell Edmunds Jackson 887 2 years, 157 days March 4, 1893 August 8, 1895
111 Amy Coney Barrett 822[B] 2 years, 92 days October 27, 2020 Incumbent
112 Robert Trimble 801 2 years, 70 days June 16, 1826 August 25, 1828
113 John Rutledge   (CJ) 521[H] 1 year, 156 days February 15, 1790
August 12, 1795
March 5, 1791
December 28, 1795
114 Thomas Johnson 485 1 year, 119 days September 19, 1791 January 16, 1793
115 James F. Byrnes 452 1 year, 87 days July 8, 1941 October 3, 1942
116 Ketanji Brown Jackson 211[B] 211 days June 30, 2022 Incumbent

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 b c d e f g h i j k As of January 27, 2023
  3. ^ 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 Stanton, is not considered to have served as a justice, and thus not included on this list.[3]
  4. ^ Length of tenure includes 5,376 days' service as associate justice and 6,917 days as chief justice.
  5. ^ Length of tenure includes 6,125 days' service as associate justice and 3,804 days as chief justice.
  6. ^ Length of tenure includes 5,966 days' service as associate justice and 1,754 days as chief justice.
  7. ^ Length of tenure includes 2,070 days' service as associate justice and 4,144 days as chief justice.
  8. ^ Length of tenure includes 383 days service as associate justice and 138 days as chief justice.

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). Archived from the original on July 13, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  2. ^ Cramton, Roger C. (Fall 2007). "Reforming the Supreme Court". California Law Review. 95: 1313–1334 (at p.1316). Archived from the original on March 19, 2019. 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 February 14, 2022.