Exploration

Supreme Court Ideologies

There have been 45 Supreme Court Justices over the last 74 years, and it’s no secret that they haven’t all seen eye to eye.  Even individual Justices tend to shift their views over time.

There’s a brilliant pair of researchers out there who have analyzed the Justice’s opinions to determine their relative position on a single left-right ideological axis.  This is called the Martin-Quinn score, and it’s a helpful way to put the current Court into historical context.

Below, I graphed the Martin Quinn score for each Justice over this time period, highlighting the range of ideological opinion on the Court each year from left to right, and identifying the position of the median Justice.

You can see the same data arrayed in a table below.  The current Justices are highlighted.  For each Justice, the columns show their highest, lowest, and median career score.  The top and bottom 10% of scores are shown in red and blue.  Note that in this data set, positive numbers are more conservative, negative more liberal.

The Excel version is available here: SCOTUS Alignment.

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