Updated Jul 3, 2023 - Politics & Policy

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios
Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

Justice Samuel Alito narrowly overtook Justice Clarence Thomas as the Supreme Court's most conservative member this term, according to preliminary data that measures judicial ideology.

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.

In her first full term on the court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was the most moderate member of the court's liberal wing (-1.704), with Justice Sonia Sotomayor being the most liberal (-4.09), per preliminary measurements of a score that judges on a liberal-conservative spectrum.

  • Most liberal: Sonia Sotomayor (-4.09)
  • Elena Kagan (-2.067)
  • Ketanji Brown Jackson (-1.704)
  • John Roberts (0.42)
  • Brett Kavanaugh (0.446)
  • Amy Coney Barrett (0.821)
  • Neil Gorsuch (1.077)
  • Clarence Thomas (2.358)
  • Most conservative: Samuel Alito (2.568)

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include new preliminary scores for the 2022 term.

Go deeper