Law Students

What are the Most Popular Law Schools for Supreme Court Justices?
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Only a small number of law schools have turned out Supreme Court Justices of late. When you look back through history, 57 percent of Supreme Court Justices never earned their law degree, according to Time.

That is 64 out of all the 112 justices to ever sit on the court.


Attending law school was uncommon in the United States until the late 1800s. Twenty of the justices studied law with a current judge or lawyer to learn. Forty-four other justices went to law school, but did not graduate. They instead studied for their education outside of their schools.

John Blair Jr. was the first justice to attend, but not graduate from law school. This was in 1756. The last was Robert Houghwout Jackson in 1912. Benjamin Robbins graduated from Harvard University in 1832 and was the first justice-to-be to earn a law degree.

Despite this, justices continued to be named to the Supreme Court without a J.D. The final two justices without a law degree entered the court in 1941. They were James Frances Byrnes, who never went to law school, and Robert Houghwout Jackson, who never graduated from Albany Law School.

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All told, 48 Supreme Court justices have graduated from law school. Harvard graduated 15, Yale graduated 6 and Columbia graduated 2. Each member of the Supreme Court right now earned their J.D. from one of the top three most commons law schools.

Five of them attended Harvard, three went to Yale and one went to Columbia.

John G. Roberts Jr., Antonin Scalia, Athony M. Kennedy, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan went to Harvard. Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., and Sonia M. Sotomayor went to Yale. Ruth Bader Ginsburg went to Columbia.


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