The Supreme Court Justices Who Retired, Died, And Stayed The Longest

Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, making him part of an elite club. So, how long will he be in the club?

Since the Supreme Court held its first session 229 years ago, 114 people have served on the court, only four them women and only two of them African-American.

According to PBS, the average age for a Supreme Court Justice to retire or die is 69. So far, 49 justices have died while in office, while 55 retired.

And yes, Supreme Court justices can retire whenever they like. There’s no rule that says they have to wait until age 65, like most people, either. The youngest justice to ever retire from the court was Benjamin Curtis, who quit the bench at the tender age of 47. He served just six years and retired shortly after ruling on the famous Dred Scott case. He went back to practicing law, and years later was chief defense counsel in President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial.

Two Supreme Court justices were still working on the court at age 90. But this is rare. On average, Supreme Court justices serve for 6,203 days. That’s about 17 years.

Only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached. This was Justice Samuel Chase, and the year was 1804. Chase signed the Declaration of Independence and was appointed to the court by President George Washington.

Chase, brought up on impeachment charges for being partisan in his rulings, was acquitted of all charges by the Senate. Chase remained on the court, and served until his death in 1811.

Including Samuel Chase, only 14 federal judges in history have ever been impeached, according to History. Of them, eight were convicted and removed from office. Three were acquitted of the charges, and three resigned.

Statistically speaking, Brett Kavanaugh will serve on the Supreme Court for 16 or 17 years and retire around age 70. However, he could choose to serve for as long as he lives, as many others have done before him. Or he could retire in a few years. But more than likely, he won’t.

And more than likely, he won’t be impeached, either. Kavanaugh is expected to start serving on the bench as early as Tuesday, and begin hearing cases that are currently before the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation has been a polarizing issue following multiple allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment against him. The allegations have come from three different women, including Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to her experiences before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations made against him.

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