Supreme Court Justices Without Prior Judicial Experience Before Becoming Justices

Name of Justice Prior Occupations Years On Court Appointed By President:
Elena Kagan U.S. Solicitor General 2010-present Obama
William Rehnquist Asst. U.S. Attorney General 1972-2005 Nixon (Assoc., 1972),
Reagan (Chief, 1986)
Lewis Powell President of the American Bar Ass'n,
Private Practice
1972-1987 Nixon
Abe Fortas Private Practice 1965-1969 Johnson
Byron White Deputy U.S. Attorney General 1962-1993 Kennedy
Arthur Goldberg U.S. Secretary of Labor 1962-1965 Kennedy
Earl Warren Governor of California 1953-1969 Eisenhower
Tom Clark U.S. Attorney General 1949-1967 Truman
Harold Burton U.S. Senator 1945-1958 Truman
Robert Jackson U.S. Attorney General 1941-1954 F. Roosevelt
James Francis Byrnes U.S. Senator 1941-1942 F. Roosevelt
William O. Douglas Chairman of the S.E.C. 1939-1975 F. Roosevelt
Felix Frankfurter Asst. U.S. Attorney, Asst. Secretary of War,
Prof. of Law at Harvard
1939-1962 F. Roosevelt
Stanley Forman Reed U.S. Solicitor General 1938-1957 F. Roosevelt
Owen Josephus Roberts Special Counsel in "Teapot Dome" investigation and trials 1930-1945 Hoover
Harlan Fiske Stone U.S. Attorney General 1925-1946 Coolidge (Assoc., 1925),
F. Roosevelt (Chief, 1941)
Pierce Butler County Attorney, Private Practice 1923-1939 Harding
George Sutherland U.S. Senator 1922-1938 Harding
Louis Brandeis Private Practice 1916-1939 Wilson
James Clark McReynolds U.S. Attorney General 1914-1941 Wilson
Charles Evans Hughes Governor of New York,
U.S. Secretary of State
Taft (Assoc., 1910),
Hoover (Chief, 1930)
William Henry Moody U.S. Attorney General 1906-1910 T. Roosevelt
George Shiras, Jr Private Practice 1892-1903 Harrison
Melville Fuller Private Practice 1888-1910 Cleveland
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar U.S. Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Senator 1888-1893 Cleveland
Joseph Philo Bradley Private Practice 1870-1892 Grant
Salmon P. Chase U.S. Treasury Secretary 1864-1873 Lincoln
Samuel Freeman Miller Private Practice 1862-1890 Lincoln
Noah Haynes Swayne U.S. Attorney for Ohio, Ohio Legislator 1862-1881 Lincoln
Nathan Clifford Maine & U.S. Attorney General 1858-1881 Buchanan
John Archibald Campbell Alabama Legislator 1853-1861 Pierce
Benjamin Robbins Curtis Massachusetts Legislator 1851-1857 Fillmore
John McKinley U.S. Senator 1838-1852 Van Buren
Roger Brooke Taney Maryland & U.S. Attorney General,
U.S. Treasury Secretary
1836-1864 Jackson
Henry Baldwin U.S. Congressman 1830-1844 Jackson
Joseph Story Speaker of Mass. House of Reps., U.S. Congressman 1812-1845 Madison
John Marshall U.S. Secretary of State 1801-1835 Adams
Bushrod Washington Virginia House of Delegates,
Reporter for Virginia Court of Appeals
1799-1829 Adams
William Paterson Governor of New Jersey 1793-1806 Washington
John Jay President of the Continental Congress,
U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs
1789-1795 Washington
John Rutledge Governor of South Carolina 1789-1791, 1795 Washington
Was this helpful?

More on the Supreme Court

Learn more about the most powerful court in the United States and the justices who decide these historic cases. 

Read more >