Oldest Members of Current U.S. Supreme Court

9 Oldest Members of Current U.S. Supreme Court (Updated 2021)

Members of the Supreme Court of the United States tend to be quite old even though there is no minimum age requirement to be nominated to the Court. This is because justices need to have several decades of experience working the American legal system. The current Supreme Court is no different than those of the past and its current members range in age from 52 all the way up to 82!

As of February 2021, this list is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed.

9. Amy Coney Barrett (January 28, 1972 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 49 years, 5 months
Appointed By: President Donald Trump
Start of Service: October 27, 2020
Length of Service (as of February 2021): 3 months, 6 days

Amy Coney Barrettphoto source: Wikimedia Commons


Amy Coney Barrett is the youngest and newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court. She was appointed just a few short weeks after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away in September 2020. Like the other justices appointed by Donald Trump, Barrett’s nomination was controversial. In 2016, an election year, Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings for Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. However, the Republican-controlled Senate, led by Mitch McConnell decided it was appropriate for them to appoint a new justice less than a week before the 2020 Presidential Election.

Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Barrett was a U.S. circuit judge from 2017 to 2020, also having been nominated for that position by Donald Trump. Barrett has also worked as a professor of law at Notre Dame Law School, where she has taught civil procedure, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation.

Did You Know?

Amy Coney Barrett is a protégée (and former clerk) of the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia and she shares his originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

8. Neil Gorsuch (August 29, 1967 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 53 years, 29 days
Appointed By: President Donald Trump
Start of Service: April 10, 2017
Length of Service (as of February 2021): 3 years, 5 months, 17 days

Neil Gorsuchphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Neil Gorsuch is the youngest member of the current Supreme Court of the United States at 53. Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia following his death in 2016. Gorsuch earned a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University, a Juris Doctor from Harvard University, and after practicing law for 15 years received a Doctor of Philosophy in Law from the University of Oxford.

After working in private practice law for several years, Gorsuch was Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice and later appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Did You Know?

Neil Gorsuch is the first Supreme Court Justice to serve alongside another Justice for whom he once had clerked, serving with Justice Anthony Kennedy before he retired in 2018.

7. Brett Kavanaugh (February 12, 1965 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 55 years, 7 months, 15 days
Appointed By: President Donald Trump
Start of Service: October 6, 2018
Length of Service (as of February 2021): 1 year, 11 months, 21 days

Brett Kavanaughphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Brett Kavanaugh is the newest, but not youngest, member of the current Supreme Court of the United States. Kavanaugh has only served for less than two years and so far he is known for his hotly contested nomination hearing. As soon as Kavanaugh’s name was put on President Trump’s short list of replacements for Justice Anthony Kennedy, Palo Alto University Professor of Psychology Christine Blasey Ford contacted a Washington Post tip line with accusations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s while the two were in high school. Two other women also came forward with allegations.

While the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing over Ford’s allegations, Kavanaugh was not found guilty and was confirmed to the Supreme Court on October 6, 2018. Since then, Kavanaugh has become known for being a staunchly conservative judge.

Did You Know?

Before becoming a Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh served as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and as a staff lawyer for various offices of the federal government.

6. Elena Kagan (April 28, 1960 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 60 years, 4 months, 30 days
Appointed By: President Barack Obama
Start of Service: August 7, 2010
Length of Service (as of February 2021): 10 years, 1 month, 20 days

Elena Kaganphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Elena Kagan is the fourth woman to ever serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and President Barack Obama’s second Supreme Court nominee. Kagan was appointed in 2010 and will be celebrating a decade in office in early August of this year. Although Kaga is considered part of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing, she tends to be the more moderate member of that group.

Kagan was born and raised in New York City and she graduated from Princeton University, the University of Oxford, and Harvard Law School. She clerked for a federal Court of Appeals judge and for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall after finishing school. Kagan has also worked as a professor at Harvard Law School and later became the first woman to be appointed the school’s dean.

Did You Know?

In 2009, Elena Kagan became the first female Solicitor General of the United States.

5. John Roberts (January 27, 1955 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 65 years, 8 months
Appointed By: President George W. Bush
Start of Service: September 29, 2005
Length of Service (as of February 2021): 14 years, 11 months, 29 days

John Robertsphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

John Roberts is the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a position he has held since he was appointed in 2005. Although Roberts has been described as having a conservative judicial philosophy in his jurisprudence, he has been willing to work with the liberal wing of the Court. Since the retirement of Anthony Kennedy in 2018 Roberts has become a key swing vote on the Court.

Roberts studied history at Harvard University then went to Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk for Circuit Judge Henry Friendly and then-associate justice William Rehnquist before taking a position in the attorney general’s office during the Reagan Administration. Roberts then went on to practice private law and argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court.

Did You Know?

Chief Justice John Roberts has authored the majority opinion in several landmark cases, including Shelby County v. Holder, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, King v. Burwell, and Department of Commerce v. New York.

4. Sonia Sotomayor (June 25, 1954 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 66 years, 3 months, 2 days
Appointed By: President Barack Obama
Start of Service: August 8, 2009
Length of Service (as of February 2021): 11 years, 1 month, 19 days

Sonia Sotomayorphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

In 2009, Sonia Sotomayor became the third woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Sotomayor is one of several justices in their 60s, which is relatively young for this current Court. Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, Sotomayor has served on the Supreme Court for nearly 11 years. Sotomayor is the first ever Hispanic and Latina justice to serve on the Court.

Sotomayor graduated from Princeton University and also attended Yale Law School. After school, Sotomayor worked as an assistant district attorney in New York for four-and-a-half years before entering private practice. In the 1990s, Sotomayor served on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, followed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Sotomayor has also taught the New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School.

Did You Know?

In 2013, Sonia Sotomayor chronicled her life leading up to becoming a Supreme Court justice in My Beloved World, which debuted atop the New York Times Best Seller List.

3. Samuel Alito (April 1, 1950 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 70 years, 5 months, 26 days
Appointed By: President George W. Bush
Start of Service: January 31, 2006
Length of Service (as of February 2021): 14 years, 7 months, 27 days

Samuel Alitophoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Samuel Alito turned 70 just a few months ago and is currently the fourth oldest Supreme Court justice. Alito was nominated by President George W. Bush and appointed in early 2006. Just like Clarence Thomas, Alito is considered one of the most conservative justices. In fact, Alito is such a hard-right conservative that during his nomination hearings, the ACLU formally opposed Alito’s nomination. The ACLU has only done this three other times, opposing the nominations of William Rehnquist, Robert Bork, and Brett Kavanaugh.

Before being appointed to the Supreme Court, Alito had a long career as an attorney. Alito worked for the Department of Justice and as a U.S. attorney for New Jersey before being selected to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Did You Know?

Samuel Alito has delivered the majority opinion in landmark cases including McDonald v. Chicago, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Murphy v. NCAA, and Janus v. AFSCME.

2. Clarence Thomas (June 23, 1948 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 72 years
Appointed By: President George H. W. Bush
Start of Service: October 23, 1991
Length of Service (as of February 2021): 28 years, 11 months, 4 days

Clarence Thomasphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Justice Clarence Thomas is a decade and a half younger than Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is the third oldest Supreme Court Justice. First appointed in 1991, Thomas is currently the longest-serving justice among this group of justices. Serving as the director successor to Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to ever be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Thomas is known for being the most conservative member of the current Court. Since becoming a justice, Thomas has taken a textualist approach, seeking to uphold the original meaning of the United States Constitution and statutes.

Did You Know?

In 2007, Clarence Thomas’s memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, became a bestseller and Thomas was given a $1.5 million advance to write the book.

1. Stephen Breyer (August 15, 1938 – Present)

Current Age (as of February 2021): 82 years, 1 month, 12 days
Appointed By: President Bill Clinton
Start of Service: August 3, 1994
Length of Service (as of February 2021): 26 years, 1 month, 24 days

Stephen Breyerphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

After the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest current Supreme Court justice is Stephen Breyer at 82 years of age. Breyer was appointed by President Bill Clinton back in the 90s and has served for over 25 years. Before joining the Supreme Court, Breyer was a judge on the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Breyer has also worked as a Harvard Law School professor, assistant to the United States Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, and assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force in 1973.

In more recent years, Breyer has written several books regarding the American justice system. His first book came out in 2005 and was titled Active Liberty. This was followed by Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge’s View in 2010 and The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities in 2015.

Did You Know?

While Stephen Breyer was a law professor and lecturer at Harvard Law School, he specialized in administrative law, writing a number of influential textbooks that are still used today.


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