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Meet the Supreme Court Justices

John Roberts – Chief Justice

Nominated by: George W Bush
Law School: Harvard
Sitting since: 2005

Justice Roberts came to the Supreme Court from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He was born in Buffalo, New York and began his career as a law clerk.

Of interest: Chief Justice Roberts is infamous for his decision to uphold the constitutionality of ObamaCare by declaring the law a “tax” in National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius. He is considered to lean conservative.

Antonin Scalia – Associate Justice

Nominated by: Ronald Reagan
Law School: Harvard
Sitting since: 1986

Justice Scalia came to the Supreme Court from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey and began his career in private practice.

Of interest: In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Scalia found that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) did not give the federal government the power to suspend habeas corpus. In Printz v. United States, a landmark case, Scalia wrote in the majority opinion that some gun control laws are unconstitutional. He is considered to be very conservative.

Anthony Kennedy – Associate Justice

Nominated by: Ronald Reagan
Law School: Harvard
Sitting since: 1988

Justice Kennedy came to the Supreme Court from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He was born in Sacramento, California and began his career in private practice.

Of interest: Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the landmark Citizens United case, upholding the First Amendment rights of unions and corporations to engage in political advertising. Kennedy is considered to be “moderate,” often acting as a “swing vote” on the Court.

Clarence Thomas – Associate Justice

Nominated by: George HW Bush
Law School: Yale
Sitting since: 1991

Justice Thomas came to the Supreme Court from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He was born in Pin Point, Georgia and began his career in this Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

Of interest: Thomas is renowned for remaining silent and rarely asking questions during oral arguments. At one point, he went seven years without speaking. Justice Thomas is considered, along with Justice Scalia, to be very conservative.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Associate Justice

Nominated by: Bill Clinton
Law School: Columbia
Sitting since: 1993

Justice Ginsburg came to the Supreme Court from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She was born in Brooklyn, New York and began her career as a law clerk.

Of interest: Wrote the decision in United States v. Virginia, finding that the Virginia Military Institute’s policy refusing to admit women is unconstitutional.

Stephen Breyer – Associate Justice

Nominated by: Bill Clinton
Law School: Harvard
Sitting since: 1994

Justice Breyer came to the Supreme Court from the US Sentencing Commission. He was born in San Francisco, California and began his career as a law clerk.

Of interests: In Morse v. Frederick, Breyer ruled that schools had a right to restrict free speech.

Samuel Alito – Associate Justice

Nominated by: George W Bush
Law School: Yale
Sitting since: 2006

Justice Alito came to the Supreme Court from the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey and began his career as Assistant US Attorney for New Jersey.

Of interest: Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion in Zedner v. United States, writing that defendants cannot waive their rights to a speedy trial. He is considered to lean liberal.

Sonia Sotomayor – Associate Justice

Nominated by: Barack Obama
Law School: Yale
Sitting since: 2009

Justice Sotomayor came to the Supreme Court from the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She was born in the Bronx, New York and began her career as an assistant in the New York District Attorney’s Office.

Elena Kagan – Associate Justice

Nominated by: Barack Obama
Law School: Harvard
Sitting since: 2010

Justice Kagan came to the Supreme Court from her position as Solicitor General of the United States. She was born in New York, New York and began her career as a law clerk.

Of interest: Justice Kagan is known for writing opinions on many Supreme Court cases. In 2011, just one year into her term, she wrote more opinions than any other justice.