Updated Jun 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy
Axios Explains: Abortion

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.

Breyer had the second-most liberal score (-1.901), with Justice Sonia Sotomayor being the most liberal (-3.959), per a measure that score judges on a liberal-conservative spectrum.

  • Most liberal: Sonia Sotomayor (-3.959)
  • Stephen Breyer (-1.901)
  • Elena Kagan (-1.508)
  • John Roberts (0.506)
  • Brett Kavanaugh (0.548)
  • Amy Coney Barrett (1.011)
  • Neil Gorsuch (1.11)
  • Samuel Alito (2.162)
  • Most conservative: Clarence Thomas (3.03)
How justices voted on Roe v. Wade
  • The Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling overturning Roe on June 24.
  • Alito wrote the court's opinion. Joining him were Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett.
  • Roberts voted with the majority but indicated he would've stopped short of fully overturning Roe.
  • The court's three liberal members — Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan — dissented.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Amy Coney Barrett, using a new analysis and scoring system, and information on how the justices voted on Roe v. Wade.

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