Historical Highlight

House Members Who Became U.S. Supreme Court Justices

Philip P. Barbour served eight terms in the House of Representatives, including one as Speaker of the House before becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1836. Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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Philip Barbour served as House Speaker becoming a Supreme Court Justice.
There have been 17 former House Members who have served on the U.S. Supreme Court. Among this number, two were Chief Justices of the United States. This chart lists these individuals, along with information about the other public offices they held. Those who served as Chief Justice of the United States are identified in bold.

In only one case was a House Member appointed to the Supreme Court directly: James M. Wayne in 1835. 

 

Individual (House Service)StatePartySupreme Court ServicePublic Career
Fred M. Vinson (1924-1929, 1931-1938)Kentucky Democrat Chief Justice, 1946-1953 Secretary of the Treasury (1945-1946)
 
Director, Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion (1945)
 
Federal Loan Administrator (1945)
 
Director, Office of Economic Stabilization (1943-1945)
 
U.S. Court of Appeals (1938-1943)

Commonwealth of Kentucky attorney (1921-1924)
 
City attorney, Louisa, Kentucky (1914-1915)
James F. Byrnes (1911-1925) South Carolina Democrat Associate Justice, 1941-1942 Governor of South Carolina (1951-1955)
 
Secretary of State (1945-1947)
 
Director, Office of War Mobilization (1943-1945)
 
Senator from South Carolina (1931-1941)
George Sutherland (1901-1903) UtahRepublican Associate Justice, 1922-1938Senator from Utah (1905-1917)
 
Utah state senate (1897-1901)
Mahlon Pitney (1895-1899) New JerseyRepublican Associate Justice, 1912-1922 Chancellor of New Jersey (1908-1912)
 
New Jersey state supreme court (1901-1908)
 
New Jersey state senate (1899-1901)
William H. Moody (1895-1902)Massachusetts Republican Associate Justice, 1906-1910 Attorney General (1904-1906)
 
Secretary of the Navy (1902-1904)
 
District attorney, eastern district of Massachusetts (1890-1895)
 
City solicitor, Haverhill, Massachusetts (1888-1890)
Joseph McKenna (1885-1892) CaliforniaRepublican Associate Justice, 1898-1925 Attorney General (1897-1898)
 
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1892-1897)
 
California state house of representatives (1875-1876)
 
District attorney for Solano County, California (1866-1868)
Lucius Q.C. Lamar (1857-1860 1873-1877) Mississippi DemocratAssociate Justice, 1888-1893 Secretary of the Interior (1885-1888)
 
Senator from Mississippi (1877-1885)
 
Officer, CSA (1861-1865)
 
Georgia state house of representatives (1853)
William Strong (1847-1851) PennsylvaniaDemocrat Associate Justice, 1870-1880 Associate justice supreme court of Pennsylvania (1857-1868)
Nathan Clifford (1839-1843) MaineDemocrat Associate Justice, 1858-1881 Commissioner to Mexico (1848-1849)
 
Attorney General (1846-1848)
 
Maine state attorney general (1834-1838)
 
Maine state house of representatives (1830-1834)
John McKinley (1833-1835) Alabama Jacksonian Associate Justice, 1838-1852 Senator from Alabama (1826-1831, 1837)
 
Alabama state house of representatives (1820-1822, 1831, 1836)
Philip P. Barbour (1814-1825, 1827-1830),
Speaker of the House
(1821-1823)
VirginiaJeffersonian Republican/JacksonianAssociate Justice, 1836-1841 U.S. district court judge (1830-1836)
 
General court of Virginia (1825-1827)
 
Virginia state house of delegates (1812-1814)
James M. Wayne (1829-1835) GeorgiaJacksonian Associate Justice, 1835-1867 Judge, Savannah superior court (1822-1828)
 
Judge, Savannah court of common pleas, Georgia (1820-1822)
 
Mayor of Savannah, Georgia (1817-1819)
 
Georgia state house of representatives (1815-1816)
Henry Baldwin (1817-1822) PennsylvaniaJeffersonian Republican Associate Justice, 1830-1844  
John McLean (1813-1816) Ohio Jeffersonian RepublicanAssociate Justice, 1830-1861 Postmaster General (1823-1829)
 
Commissioner, General Land Office (1822-1823)
 
Ohio state supreme court (1816-1822)
Joseph Story  (1808-1809) MassachusettsJeffersonian RepublicanAssociate Justice, 1812-1845 Massachusetts state house of representatives (1805-1807, 1811-1812)
John Marshall (1799-1800)
 
VirginiaFederalist Chief Justice, 1801-1835 Secretary of State (1800-1801)
 
Special commissioner to France (1797, 1798)
 
Virginia state executive council (1782-1795)
 
Virginia state house of delegates (1780, 1782-1788)
Gabriel Duvall (1794-1796) MarylandRepublican Associate Justice, 1811-1835 Chief justice general court of Maryland (1796-1802)

Comptroller of the Treasury (1802-1811)