The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Current justices: Epstein, Martin, and Quinn, 2017 "President-Elect Trump and his Possible Justices", Kavanaugh's score: Epstein, Martin, and Quinn, 2016 "Possible Presidents and their Possible Justices"; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon, Harry Stevens/Axios

With the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018, President Trump cemented a solid conservative majority on the bench. Kavanaugh has the second-most conservative score (0.693) next to Justice Clarence Thomas (0.725), per a measure that score judges on a liberal-conservative spectrum.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Lee Epstein, Andrew D. Martin, and Kevin Quinn places judges on an ideological spectrum called the “Judicial Common Space." Conservative justices receive scores from 0 to 1, liberal justices from –1 to 0.

  • Most liberal: Sonia Sotomayor (-0.521)
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (-0.518)
  • Elena Kagan (-0.302)
  • Stephen Breyer (-0.280)
  • John Roberts (0.089)
  • Samuel Alito (0.317)
  • Neil Gorsuch (0.486)
  • Brett Kavanaugh (0.693)
  • Clarence Thomas (0.725)

Go deeper: 2019's Supreme Court cases to watch