Justice Breyer: Just the Facts

With Justice Breyer’s retirement tomorrow here are some facts about the justice and his career on and before joining the Court:

  • He was the 22nd longest serving justice at 28 years on the Court (Douglas was longest serving at 36 years).
  • Was nominated at 55 by President Clinton in 1994
  • Had a well-qualified rating from the ABA
  • Senate hearing took four days
  • He was confirmed on a vote of 87 to 9
  • Took over Justice Blackmun’s seat
  • Tied for 61st oldest justice when nominated at 55 years old. Youngest were Justices Story and William Johnson who were nominated at 32.
  • Seventh oldest departing justice at 84. Ginsburg was 87. At the top Stevens and Holmes were both 90.
  • Born in San Francisco CA. One of three justices born in CA, New York has the most with 15
  • Grew up in an urban environment like 39 other justices
  • Grew up in an upper-middle class household like 31 other justices. The most justices grew up in upper class houses
  • Is Jewish like 7 other justices beginning with Brandeis
  • Went to Stanford undergrad like three other justices. The most justices went to Princeton.
  • Went to Harvard law like 18 other justices. The most justices went to Harvard Law.
  • His father was a lawyer like 25 other justices.
  • Breyer clerked for Justice Goldberg
  • Never worked in private practice as a lawyer
  • Taught at Harvard Law
  • Sat on the First Circuit from 1980 until 1994 when he was confirmed to the Supreme Court
  • Was one of two justices who sat on the First Circuit. The most have sat on the DC Circuit with eight justices.
  • Was on the US Sentencing Commission from 1985 until 1989
  • Is male like 109 other justices. Only five total women so far (six with KBJ)

* Help from data pooled from the Supreme Court Justices Database

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