Who Are Some of the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justices?


Quick Answer

John Jay was the first and youngest Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and as of 2015, John Roberts is the Chief Justice. Between these two men, 15 others have served in this capacity, including John Marshall, William Howard Taft and Earl Warren.

Continue Reading
Who Are Some of the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justices?
Credit: The Washington Post The Washington Post Getty Images

Full Answer

President George Washington appointed John Jay as chief justice, an office he held from Oct. 19, 1789, until June 29, 1795. He was only 44 when he took office but had already proven himself to be a leader, serving as a delegate in the first Continental Congress and the first chief justice of New York. Prior to the appointment, he was a minister to Spain and the secretary of Foreign Affairs.

John Marshall was the fourth chief justice and the longest to serve in that office. His term lasted more than 34 years, from Feb. 4, 1801, to July 6, 1835, and spanned six presidents. Under his leadership, the Supreme Court became more powerful and established itself as an equal to the other two government branches.

William Howard Taft is the only chief justice to have been president of the United States as well. Appointed by President Warren Harding as the 10th chief justice, serving from 1921 to 1930. Taft was also the 27th president.

Appointed by Dwight Eisenhower as the 14th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Earl Warren was a former governor of California. Despite his nomination by a conservative Republican president, he and the court he led rendered many decisions considered liberal for the day. One of the most famous, Brown v. the Board of Education, banned school segregation. He also chaired the committee investigating the death of President John F. Kennedy.

Learn more about Branches of Government
Related Videos

Related Questions