With the recent and newsworthy end of the U.S. Supreme Court term, I heard a radio report discussing the likely timing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s retirement. It made me want to know the age and length of service of each of the justices.
My first reaction, of course, was to graph it. The data was readily available, as were public domain photos of each justice. The graph shows a bar starting at the age at which each justice began his or her term, and ending at their current age. You can interact with the result at threestory.com/scotus.
Each bar is colored based on the party affiliation of the President who nominated the justice, realizing that ideological leanings are certainly more nuanced than that. I considered coloring each bar based on where the justice falls on the ideological scale - either on the Martin and Quinn scale or using Michael Bailey’s scale - perhaps I’ll add that when those calculations are next released. There is a useful comparison of the two scales here.
This was all created using d3.js, which means the ages are updated dynamically, based on today’s date. Another element I’d like to add is the ability to compare data for all the justices throughout U.S. history. Time to do some more d3 work!
Update: I created the version showing all justices since 1789. Take a look.