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Likely Timeline for Future Supreme Court Justice Retirements

By George Khoury, Esq. on July 27, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A recent Business Insider report examines the timeline for when each current Supreme Court justice is anticipated to retire.

The analysis looks at the current age, number of years on the High Court bench for each justice, and compares it to the average age of justices at retirement (80) and the average number of years justices serve (27 years). And though Justice Kennedy's retirement has just barely been put in the ground, interest over whether Trump will get a third SCOTUS seat is running high.

Below, you can read about the Business Insider breakdown, and the three justices they think are most likely to retire next.

Who'll Retire Next?

According to their report, Justice Ginsburg, who's 85 years old, the oldest Justice on the Court, and 24 years in to her life sentence on the bench, probably should have retired last year if she wanted to be average. But if you've seen even just the trailers to the recent movies about her, the Notorious RBG is anything but.

Next up, potentially, could be Justice Breyer, who is 79 years old, and has put in 23 years on the bench. He may be holding off until the next administration though, due to his more moderate ideology.

The next most likely contender is Justice Thomas. Despite only being 70, he has served on the High Court for 26 years, only 1 year shy of the average. As a result of his young age, he is likely to go beyond the average in terms of years of service, but may consider retirement before hitting the average age.

After the above three, the rest of the Court is pretty far away from retirement:

  • Justice Alito is only 68, and has only put in 12 years.
  • Justice Sotomayor is 64 and only 8 years in.
  • Justice Roberts is 63 and 12 years in.
  • Justice Kagan is 58 and has 7 years.
  • Justice Gorsuch is a mere 50 years young, and has just barely put in a single term.

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