In recent years, the Supreme Court has been relatively quiet. There haven’t been any polarizing nominations — at least until Brett Kavanaugh’s 2018 Senate hearing thrust the American institution into the spotlight.
Throughout history, the Supreme Court has changed. Over a hundred male justices have walked through the doors, but very few women and people of color have ever made it to the bench. Today, we see the Supreme Court’s demographics slowly shifting; hopefully not into a backslide. Here are some things you may not know about the Supreme Court, how it was founded, and how it’s changing.
Only Four Women Have Ever Served On The Supreme Court
If you’re taking a bathroom break at the Supreme Court’s Washington HQ, you might have to brush some dust off the ladies room stalls. A whopping 114 justices have filtered through the Supreme Court’s doors since its 1790 inception, but just four of them were women. Let’s repeat that: just four women in 228 years of operation.
Women’s increasing presence on the Supreme Court is a fairly recent development. Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice in 1981, but she left in 2006. Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined the bench in 1993 and served until her death in 2020. Sonia Sotomayor took her oath in 2009 and Elena Kagan took hers in 2010.