Supreme Court Justices, Ranked by Hotness

Law school. It’s a time to expand your mind, learn about the intricacies of our complicated legal system, and make new friends that will last a lifetime, probably.

Or, it’s the time to determine once and for all which Supreme Court Justices are hot, and which are not.

Welcome back to another mean-spirited bracket, objectifying some of the most important people in American history, and probably preventing me from ever clerking for a Supreme Court Justice (why did I put my real name on this blog??)

Joining me on this journey to sully our professional reputations are Molly Donahue and Isabel Mason-McVey! True fans of the blog will remember Molly from the Hot Kennedy bracket, and true fans of my personal life will remember Isabel from being my friend since we were five years old. But I’ll let these two ladies introduce themselves for new friends and new readers.

Molly and I as JFK and RFK on vacation for the Hot Kennedy Reveal Party.

Molly and I as JFK and RFK on vacation for the Hot Kennedy Reveal Party.

And this is the three of us on an actual vacation.

And this is the three of us on an actual vacation.

Molly: Hello! First of all, I’d like to point out that this isn’t mean spirited, it’s Democracy spirited. If we don’t hold our public figures to account, who will? It’s practically our civic duty to judge those who represent and shape our lives with the most widely agreed upon social metric we have: Hotness.

That being said, I am glad that I’m not planning on entering the legal system after this, so best of luck to you, Bella! So pleased to be partnering again on this academic adventure along with my new best friend Isabel (who I had not met before spending a full week with her this August and who I fully believe will side with me in hotness disputes). Let the games begin!

Isabel: Hi everyone! Excited to be a tiebreaker! I believe wholeheartedly that the most important people in American history deserve to be held to the arbitrary standard of beauty that I believe in.  It is our right as Americans to judge and critique the Judges and Critics of our nation.

I also have zero legal aspirations (much to my mother’s disappointment), but will pray nobody digs up this blog in twenty years for the sake of Bella’s career.  Additionally it should be noted that my new best friend Molly is an absolute delight; we spent days baking in the Orlando sun and I never got sick of her- what a testament!

Bella: I can think of no better women to sift through the dregs of old Supreme Court Justices. Before we dive right into our initial impressions, I wanted to lay out how we chose these justices, and how we chose their pictures. There have been a total of 113 Supreme Court justices, which is way too many for a bracket. We made an initial list of the 32 most popular Supreme Court justices, and from there, I scoured the internet to find 32 other interesting Supreme Court justices. I mostly went by who’d been on the court the longest. I don’t think every chief justice even made the list. It was a very unscientific process.

Photos were chosen based on how people looked when they were sworn into the court. For the most part, I chose official Supreme Court portraits, except in cases where the portrait was much hotter than the actual judge. Again, very unscientific and subject to my own personal opinions, but that’s also how you would describe the law. Finally, this isn’t about how good or not good someone’s legal opinions are. This is about hotness. This is a bracket where a Neil Gorsuch could beat out an Earl Warren because we’re going for looks here people.

Molly: I’ll be honest here, Bella does most (all) of the background research work and I show up for the quips and quibbles. So, I fully trust that she has chosen the top 64 Justices to be ranked. That being said we all consulted and agreed that the top 6 positions automatically belong to every non-white man to serve on the Supreme Court. Let’s just all reflect that that metric only takes up 6 positions. Then let’s all agree that the hotness trait a person can have is the drive and strength to usurp restrictive social standards. Yay! We’re already having fun!

Isabel: I put zero work into looking for photos, I’m here for a good time, not for tedious image searches. The good news in separating legal/political opinions from hotness is I do not know most of the 64 justices leanings off the top of my head.

Bella: Now you’ve both had time to go through the list. Any hotties who surprised you? I for one was shocked by William Douglas. He’s the longest serving Supreme Court justice, in his seat for almost 37 years, and he wrote the opinion for Griswold v. Connecticut, which gave us a right to have birth control and set the stage for the legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade.

But this isn’t a bracket about political views. This is a bracket of hotness, and William Douglas was a babe!


Molly: I...might be in love with William Douglas? I’ll let the people see his picture before casting their votes but if he doesn’t end up in later rounds it will be considered an injustice and I’ll assume none of you like freedom.

Bella: I thought John Jay, our first Supreme Court Justice, looked good too. The clear eyes, the swept back hair, the ruffles?


Molly: No.

Isabel: His clear eyes aren’t looking the same direction. Massive point deduction.

Bella: Felix Frankfurter, who helped found the ACLU, was a nice surprise though!

Molly: He looks like FDR! How is he so far down on this list?? He’s got a quiet elegance that I think you’re overlooking Bella.

Bella: He’s 14th, that’s not that bad! But I’ll agree I made a mistake ranking him behind Alito.

Isabel: He’s way good looking. I’d call him distinguished.


Bella: It’s almost too big a question to ask if any of these judges were surprisingly ugly because my goodness, so many of them were a little unfortunate looking. I was particularly disappointed to see the shockingly craggy and terrifying face of Chief Justice Roger Taney. I’ve long held an admiration of Taney because of a story that he set the clock in the Supreme Court five minutes fast, to make sure everyone was on time. That’s a power move I deeply respect, so it was unfortunate to rank him as close to the bottom of the list as I did.

Molly: Look, this is what happens when you teach men that they’ll be judged on their intellectual merits instead of their physical appearance. Now, there’s no saying which is the better system, but all the women *did* end up at the top of this list. (I think this is a funny social commentary, but it is also important that I remind people of the gross double standard we apply to women, especially those who seek to break into professions typically dominated by men. So when I say the women Justices are hotter it’s based entirely on their brains and skills and gumption. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.)

Bella: It’s hopeless to make any predictions about who will come out on top so early, so I’ll leave you with this question.

Isn’t it messed up that there have been the same amount of people named John Marshall Harlan on the Supreme Court as there have been black people? I mean, I know America is racist, but I didn’t know we really loved people named John Marshall Harlan.

Molly: This is a fact you’ve told me several times and it still blows me away. And that’s no even counting the fact that there’s an entirely separate John Marshall! And then Thurgood Marshall, which makes me think that if you have a son you want to push towards the legal profession...maybe name him Marshall? And make sure he’s a white man who attends an Ivy League university?

Bella: Well this has been fun! We’ll be back next week with our analysis of the Top 32 Hottest Judges, but in the meantime, go get your votes in!