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Biographies of current Justices of the US Supreme Court

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John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States

Born in Buffalo, New York, Jan. 27, 1955. He married Jane Marie Sullivan in 1996 and they have two children -- Josephine and John. He received an A.B. from Harvard College in 1976 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1979. He served as a law clerk for Judge Henry J. Friendly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1979–1980 and as a law clerk for then-Associate Justice William H. Rehnquist of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1980 Term. He was Special Assistant to the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1981–1982, Associate Counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel’s Office from 1982–1986, and Principal Deputy Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice from 1989–1993. From 1986–1989 and 1993–2003, he practiced law in Washington, D.C. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2003. President George W. Bush nominated him as Chief Justice of the United States and he took his seat Sep. 29, 2005.



Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice

Scalia is the court’s first Italian-American justice and also its longest-serving. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey, March 11, 1936. He married Maureen McCarthy and has nine children -- Ann Forrest, Eugene, John Francis, Catherine Elisabeth, Mary Clare, Paul David, Matthew, Christopher James and Margaret Jane. He received his A.B. from Georgetown University and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School, and was a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University from 1960–1961. He was in private practice in Cleveland, Ohio from 1961–1967, a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia from 1967–1971, a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago from 1977–1982, and a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University and Stanford University. He was chairman of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law, 1981–1982, and its Conference of Section Chairmen, 1982–1983. He served the federal government as General Counsel of the Office of Telecommunications Policy from 1971–1972, Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States from 1972–1974, and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel from 1974–1977. He was appointed judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1982. President Ronald Reagan nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and he took his seat Sep. 26, 1986.



Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice

Born in Sacramento, California, July 23, 1936. He married Mary Davis and has three children. He received his B.A. from Stanford University and the London School of Economics, and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He was in private practice in San Francisco, California from 1961–1963, as well as in Sacramento, California from 1963–1975. From 1965 to 1988, he was a Professor of Constitutional Law at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. He has served in numerous positions during his career, including a member of the California Army National Guard in 1961, the board of the Federal Judicial Center from 1987–1988, and two committees of the Judicial Conference of the United States: the Advisory Panel on Financial Disclosure Reports and Judicial Activities, subsequently renamed the Advisory Committee on Codes of Conduct, from 1979–1987, and the Committee on Pacific Territories from 1979–1990, which he chaired from 1982–1990. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1975. President Reagan nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat Feb. 18, 1988.



Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice

Born in the Pin Point community near Savannah, Georgia, June 23, 1948. He married Virginia Lamp in 1987 and has one child, Jamal Adeen, from a previous marriage. He attended Conception Seminary and received an A.B., cum laude, from Holy Cross College, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1974. He was admitted to law practice in Missouri in 1974 and served as an Assistant Attorney General of Missouri from 1974–1977, an attorney with the Monsanto Company from 1977–1979, and Legislative Assistant to Senator John Danforth from 1979–1981. From 1981–1982, he served as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, and as Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1982–1990. He became a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1990. President George H.W. Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat Oct. 23, 1991.



Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice

Ginsburg is the court’s first Jewish female justice. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954, and has a daughter, Jane, and a son, James. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961. From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963–1972, Columbia Law School from 1972–1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977–1978. In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She was appointed a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. President William Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and she took her seat Aug. 10, 1993.



Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice

Born in San Francisco, California, Aug. 15, 1938. He married Joanna Hare in 1967, and has three children -- Chloe, Nell, and Michael. He received an A.B. from Stanford University, a B.A. from Magdalen College, Oxford, and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to Justice Arthur Goldberg of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1964 Term, as a Special Assistant to the Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Antitrust, 1965–1967, as an Assistant Special Prosecutor of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, 1973, as Special Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, 1974–1975, and as Chief Counsel of the committee, 1979–1980. He was an Assistant Professor, Professor of Law, and Lecturer at Harvard Law School, 1967–1994, a Professor at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, 1977–1980, and a Visiting Professor at the College of Law, Sydney, Australia and at the University of Rome. From 1980–1990, he served as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and as its Chief Judge, 1990–1994. He also served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 1990–1994, and of the United States Sentencing Commission, 1985–1989. President Clinton nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and he took his seat Aug. 3, 1994.



Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr., Associate Justice

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, April 1, 1950. He married Martha-Ann Bomgardner in 1985, and has two children, Philip and Laura. He served as a law clerk for Leonard I. Garth of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1976–1977. He was Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey, 1977–1981, Assistant to the Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1981–1985, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1985–1987, and U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey, 1987–1990. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1990. President George W. Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and he took his seat Jan. 31, 2006.



Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice

Sotomayor is the court’s first Latina justice. She was born in Bronx, New York, on June 25, 1954. She earned a B.A. in 1976 from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the university's highest academic honor. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office from 1979–1984. She then litigated international commercial matters in New York City at Pavia & Harcourt, where she served as an associate and then partner from 1984–1992. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992–1998. She served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009 and she assumed this role on Aug. 8, 2009.



Elena Kagan, Associate Justice

Born in New York, New York, on April 28, 1960. She received an A.B., summa cum laude, in 1981 from Princeton University. She attended Worcester College, Oxford University, as Princeton’s Daniel M. Sachs Graduating Fellow, and received an M. Phil. in 1983. In 1986, she earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude, where she was supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review. She served as a law clerk to Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1986-1987, and as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1987 Term. She worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Williams & Connolly, LLP, from 1989-1991. She became an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School in 1991 and a tenured professor of law in 1995. From 1995-1999, she was associate counsel to President Clinton and then served as deputy assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. She joined Harvard Law School as a visiting professor in 1999 and became professor of law in 2001. She was the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law and appointed the 11th dean of Harvard Law School in 2003. President Obama nominated her to serve as the 45th Solicitor General of the United States and she was confirmed on March 19, 2009, becoming the first woman to hold the position. President Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 10, 2010 and she assumed this role on Aug. 7, 2010.

Source: The Supreme Court of the United States, supremecourt.gov.

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