Monday, April 12, 2010

On the Supreme Court Justices, an overview

In light of the recent Judge Steven's news, I've been paying particular attention to news headlines pertaining to the Supreme Court. I am embarrassed to admit that prior to last week, I could not name all 7 Justice's. If you're so inclined, here's a short overview on each of the 9 Justices:


John Roberts Chief Justice:
Born in 1955 (he's 55). Catholic. Conservative (nominated by Dubya in '05). Went to Harvard for undergrad and law school. Against abortion rights.
Interesting tidbit: Joe Biden voted against his confirmation.
Click here or here for sourcing.

John Paul Stevens:
Born in 1920 (turns 90 next week!) Very invested in the 1st ammendment (free speech). Was in the Navy during WW2, earning a Bronze Star. Protestant.
Interesting tidbit: refers to his politics as being a "judicial conservative" but tends to vote with the liberals of the Court.
Click here and here for sources.

Antonin Scalia:
Born in 1936 (he's 74). Went to Georgetown (undergrad) and then Harvard (Law). He has 9 children. Catholic. Was confirmed 98-0 in the Senate.
Interesting tidbit: He's an "originalist" which means he supports reading the Constitution as it was written, within the context of that time, which would mean that we would NOT allow for it to move/grow as time passes.
Click here and here for sources.

Anthony M. Kennedy:
Born in 1936 (he's 73). Catholic. Stanford, then Harvard. Former Constitutional law professor.
Interesting tidbit: he is often the 5-4 "swing vote". Though he is officially a Republican, and most often votes Right, he sometimes swings Left.
Click here and here for sources.

Clarence Thomas:
Born in 1948 (now 61). College of Holy Cross, then Yale Law. Nominated by George H. W. Bush, and then faced intense debate regarding his confirmation (due to the Anita Hill scandal). Regarded as one of the most conservative judges.
Two interesting tidbits: Was married once before; Performed the wedding ceremony of Rush Limbaugh and his (third) wife.
Click here and here for sources.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg:
Born in 1933 (age 77). Cornell, then Harvard Law. Nominated by Bill Clinton. Supports a woman's right to choose, but says "The basic thing is that the government has no business making that decision for a woman".
Interesting tidbit: though they are political foes, in normal life Ginsberg and Scalia are good friends!
Sources here and here.

Stephen G. Breyer:
Born in 1938 (age 71). Stanford, then Harvard Law. Jewish. Expert on administrative law. When making a decision, he's focused on the "purpose and consequence" of it. Liberal. Supports abortion rights.
Interesting tidbit: his wife is a British aristocrat (whatever that really means).
Sources here and here.

Samuel Alito:
Born in 1950 (age 60). Princeton, then Yale. Studied abroad in Italy. Was a member of the US Army Reserves (active duty was served, fortunately, in the US). Conservative. Catholic.
Tidbit: in his college yearbook, he indicated wanting to be on the Supreme Court.
Sources here and here.

Sonio Sotomayor:
Born in 1954 (age 56). Princeton, then Yale. Catholic. Independent. Divorced.
Interesting tidbit: she is the only unmarried/childless Justice.
Sources here and here.

A few things I found to be interesting overall:
-Their average age is 68
- Two of them are "Jr"s (Alito & Roberts)
- 2/3 are Catholic (this seems crazy to me!)
- They all went to law school at Harvard or Yale - with the notable exception of Justice Stevens who went to Northwestern
-The youngest member is also the Chief Justice

1 comment:

  1. 1. so impressive!!

    2. i, too, was SHOCKED by the # of catholics on the court!!

    3. if you haven't read this yet, it's really interesting/depressing/scary re: roberts: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/25/090525fa_fact_toobin

    4. rarrr goooo northwestern!!!!!!!!!

    5. so weird about ginsberg & scalia?!

    ReplyDelete

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