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Factbox-Historic firsts on the diversifying U.S. Supreme Court

01/26/2022 | 03:09pm EDT
U.S. Supreme Court is seen after it was reported Stephen Breyer will retire, in Washington

(Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's pending retirement https://www.reuters.com/world/us/liberal-us-supreme-court-justice-stephen-breyer-retire-media-reports-2022-01-26 gives President Joe Biden the opportunity to fulfill his pledge to name a Black woman to the nation's top judicial body, which would be a historic first.

A total of 115 justices have served on the Supreme Court in the nation's history, including 17 as chief justice.

Here is a look at some of the trailblazing justices.

1916: FIRST JEWISH JUSTICE

Justice Louis Brandeis was appointed in 1916 by Democratic President Woodrow Wilson and served until 1939. There have been eight Jewish justices in total.

1967: FIRST BLACK JUSTICE

Justice Thurgood Marshall, appointed by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson in 1967, had previously worked as a influential civil rights lawyer. He served until 1991, when he was replaced by the only other Black justice to have been appointed, Justice Clarence Thomas, an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush.

1981: FIRST WOMAN JUSTICE

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, served from 1981 until her retirement in 2006. A total of five women have served as justices.

1993: FIRST FEMALE JEWISH JUSTICE

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993 and died while in office in 2020. The second Jewish woman on the court is Justice Elena Kagan, who is still serving.

2009: FIRST HISPANIC JUSTICE

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama in 2009 and still serving, is the only Hispanic Supreme Court justice to date.

(Compiled by Lawrence Hurley in Washington; Editing by Will Dunham and Scott Malone)


© Reuters 2022
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