US News recently did some digging and found which law schools Supreme Court justices attended and the academic ties between the nine justices.
IVY LEAGUE REIGNS SUPREME
One of the things all nine Supreme Court justices have in common is the fact that they all received law degrees from Ivy League universities.
According to US News, three of the six justices appointed in the 21st century earned law degrees from Harvard Law. The other three earned their law degrees from Yale Law.
If we go further back, Supreme Court justices who were appointed in the 20th century differ a bit.
LL.B. VERSUS J.D.
Interestingly enough, it seems 20th century appointed justices mostly held bachelor’s of law degrees, or LL.B.’s.
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg holds an LL.B. from Columbia University and former Chief Justice William Rehnquist holds an LL.B. from Stanford Law. Neither received a J.D.
One explanation, according to US News, may be because US law schools began replacing their LL.B. programs with J.D. programs in the 60’s and 70’s.
As this transition went underway, the J.D. became the standard credential for lawyers, replacing the LL.B. of the past.
While many Supreme Court justices hold degrees from elite law schools, it seems not all received degrees from top-ranking institutions.
According to US News, 21 of the 59 justices appointed in the 20th and 21st centuries received their law degrees from lower-ranked law schools. One justice, according to US News, even earned his law degree from a law school that doesn’t exist anymore.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE?
There are no specific qualifications that are required to become a Supreme Court Justice.
“The Constitution does not specify qualifications for Justices such as age, education, profession, or native-born citizenship,” according to the Supreme Court. “A Justice does not have to be a lawyer or a law school graduate, but all Justices have been trained in the law. Many of the 18th and 19th century Justices studied law under a mentor because there were few law schools in the country.”
Check below to see where each Supreme Court justice attended.