List of Famous Jurists

List of famous jurists, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top jurists in the world? This includes the most prominent jurists, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable jurists is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic jurists were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned jurists.

List is made up of many different people, including William Howard Taft and Thurgood Marshall.

From reputable, prominent, and well known jurists to the lesser known jurists of today, these are some of the best professionals in the jurist field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous jurists ever?" and "What are the names of famous jurists?" then you're in the right place. {#nodes}
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  • Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an American lawyer, serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court's 96th justice and its first African-American justice. Prior to his judicial service, he successfully argued several cases before the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board of Education. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Marshall graduated from the Howard University School of Law in 1933. He established a private legal practice in Baltimore before founding the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he served as executive director. In that position, he argued several cases before the Supreme Court, including Smith v. Allwright, Shelley v. Kraemer, and Brown v. Board of Education, which held that racial segregation in public education is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Marshall to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Four years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Marshall as the United States Solicitor General. In 1967, Johnson successfully nominated Marshall to succeed retiring Associate Justice Tom C. Clark. Marshall retired during the administration of President George H. W. Bush, and was succeeded by Clarence Thomas.
  • Sonia Sotomayor

    Sonia Sotomayor

    Sonia Maria Sotomayor (Spanish: [ˈsonja sotomaˈʝoɾ]; born June 25, 1954) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, appointed by President Barack Obama in May 2009 and confirmed that August. She has the distinction of being its first Hispanic and Latina Justice.Sotomayor was born in The Bronx, New York City, to Puerto Rican-born parents. Her father died when she was nine, and she was subsequently raised by her mother. Sotomayor graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 1976 and received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979, where she was an editor at the Yale Law Journal. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York for four-and-a-half years before entering private practice in 1984. She played an active role on the boards of directors for the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the State of New York Mortgage Agency, and the New York City Campaign Finance Board. Sotomayor was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush in 1991; confirmation followed in 1992. In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Her nomination was slowed by the Republican majority in the United States Senate, but she was eventually confirmed in 1998. On the Second Circuit, Sotomayor heard appeals in more than 3,000 cases and wrote about 380 opinions. Sotomayor has taught at the New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School. In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor to the Supreme Court following the retirement of Justice David Souter. Her nomination was confirmed by the Senate in August 2009 by a vote of 68–31. While on the court, Sotomayor has supported the informal liberal bloc of justices when they divide along the commonly perceived ideological lines. During her tenure on the Supreme Court, Sotomayor has been identified with concern for the rights of defendants, calls for reform of the criminal justice system, and making impassioned dissents on issues of race, gender and ethnic identity, including Schuette v. BAMN, Utah v. Strieff, and Trump v. Hawaii.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (March 15, 1933-September 18, 2020) was an American lawyer and jurist who was an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She was the second female justice (after Sandra Day O'Connor) of four to be confirmed to the court (along with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who are still serving). Ginsburg spent a considerable part of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of gender equality and women's rights, winning multiple victories arguing before the Supreme Court. She advocated as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsels in the 1970s. Ginsburg has received attention in American popular culture for her fiery liberal dissents and refusal to step down; she has been dubbed "The Notorious R.B.G." in reference to the late rapper known as "The Notorious B.I.G.".
  • William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States (1909–1913) and the tenth chief justice of the United States (1921–1930), the only person to have held both offices. Taft was elected president in 1908, the chosen successor of Theodore Roosevelt, but was defeated for re-election by Woodrow Wilson in 1912 after Roosevelt split the Republican vote by running as a third-party candidate. In 1921, President Warren G. Harding appointed Taft to be chief justice, a position in which he served until a month before his death. Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1857. His father, Alphonso Taft, was a U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of War. Taft attended Yale and, like his father, was a member of Skull and Bones. After becoming a lawyer, Taft was appointed a judge while still in his twenties. He continued a rapid rise, being named Solicitor General and as a judge of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1901, President William McKinley appointed Taft civilian governor of the Philippines. In 1904, Roosevelt made him Secretary of War, and he became Roosevelt's hand-picked successor. Despite his personal ambition to become chief justice, Taft declined repeated offers of appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States, believing his political work to be more important. With Roosevelt's help, Taft had little opposition for the Republican nomination for president in 1908 and easily defeated William Jennings Bryan for the presidency that November. In the White House, he focused on East Asia more than European affairs and repeatedly intervened to prop up or remove Latin American governments. Taft sought reductions to trade tariffs, then a major source of governmental income, but the resulting bill was heavily influenced by special interests. His administration was filled with conflict between the conservative wing of the Republican Party, with which Taft often sympathized, and the progressive wing, toward which Roosevelt moved more and more. Controversies over conservation and antitrust cases filed by the Taft administration served to further separate the two men. Roosevelt challenged Taft for renomination in 1912. Taft used his control of the party machinery to gain a bare majority of delegates and Roosevelt bolted the party. The split left Taft with little chance of re-election and he took only Utah and Vermont in Wilson's victory. After leaving office, Taft returned to Yale as a professor, continuing his political activity and working against war through the League to Enforce Peace. In 1921, President Harding appointed Taft as chief justice, an office he had long sought. Chief Justice Taft was a conservative on business issues and under him there were advances in individual rights. In poor health, he resigned in February 1930, and died the following month. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the first president and first Supreme Court justice to be interred there. Taft is generally listed near the middle in historians' rankings of U.S. presidents.
  • Earl Warren (March 19, 1891 – July 9, 1974) was an American politician and jurist who served as the 14th Chief Justice of the United States (1953–1969) and earlier as the 30th Governor of California (1943–1953). The Warren Court presided over a major shift in constitutional jurisprudence, with Warren writing the majority opinions in landmark cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, Reynolds v. Sims, and Miranda v. Arizona. Warren also led the Warren Commission, a presidential commission that investigated the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He is, as of 2019, the last Chief Justice to have served in an elected office. Warren was born in 1891 in Los Angeles and was raised in Bakersfield, California. After graduating from the law program at the University of California, Berkeley, he began a legal career in Oakland. He was hired as a deputy district attorney for Alameda County in 1920 and was appointed district attorney in 1925. He emerged as a leader of the state Republican Party and won election as the Attorney General of California in 1938. In that position, he played a role in the forced removal and internment of over 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. In the 1942 California gubernatorial election, Warren defeated incumbent Democratic governor Culbert Olson. He would serve as Governor of California until 1953, presiding over a period of major growth for the state. Warren served as Thomas E. Dewey's running mate in the 1948 presidential election, but Dewey lost the election to incumbent President Harry S. Truman. Warren sought the Republican nomination in the 1952 presidential election, but the party nominated General Dwight D. Eisenhower. After Eisenhower won election as president, he appointed Warren as Chief Justice. Warren helped arrange a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. After Brown, the Warren Court would continue to issue rulings that helped bring an end to the segregationist Jim Crow laws that were prevalent throughout the South. In Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, the Court upheld the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law that prohibits racial segregation in public institutions and public accommodations. In the 1960s, the Warren Court handed down several landmark rulings that transformed criminal procedure, redistricting, and other areas of the law. Many of the Court's decisions incorporated the Bill of Rights, making the protections of the Bill of Rights apply to state and local governments. Gideon v. Wainwright established a criminal defendant's right to an attorney in felony cases, while Miranda v. Arizona required police officers to give a warning to criminal suspects in police custody. Reynolds v. Sims established that all state legislative districts must be of roughly equal population, while the Court's holding in Wesberry v. Sanders required equal populations for congressional districts. Griswold v. Connecticut struck down a state law that restricted access to contraceptives and established a constitutional right to privacy. Warren announced his retirement in 1968, and was succeeded by conservative appellate judge Warren Burger. Though the Warren Court's rulings have received criticism from many conservatives, as well as from some other quarters, few of the Court's decisions have been overturned.
  • Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau (; French: [tʁydo]; October 18, 1919 – September 28, 2000), often referred to by the initials PET, was a Canadian politician who was 15th prime minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party between 1968 to 1984, with a brief period as Leader of the Opposition from 1979 to 1980. His tenure of 15 years and 164 days makes him Canada's third longest-serving Prime Minister, behind William Lyon Mackenzie King and John A. Macdonald. Trudeau rose to prominence as a lawyer, intellectual, and activist in Quebec politics. He joined the Liberal Party of Canada and was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 1965, quickly being appointed as Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson's Parliamentary Secretary. In 1967, he was appointed Minister of Justice. Trudeau's outgoing personality caused a media sensation, inspiring "Trudeaumania", and helped him to win the leadership of the Liberal Party in 1968, when he was appointed Prime Minister of Canada. From the late 1960s until the early 1980s, Trudeau's personality dominated the political scene to an extent never before seen in Canadian political life. After his appointment as Prime Minister, he won the 1968, 1972 and 1974 elections, before narrowly losing in 1979. He won a fourth election victory shortly afterwards, in 1980, and eventually retired from politics shortly before the 1984 election. Despite his personal motto, "Reason before passion", his personality and political career aroused polarizing reactions throughout Canada during his time in office. Admirers praised what they consider to be the force of Trudeau's intellect and his political acumen, maintaining national unity over the Quebec sovereignty movement, suppressing a Quebec terrorist crisis, fostering a pan-Canadian identity, and in achieving sweeping institutional reform, including the implementation of official bilingualism, patriation of the Constitution, and the establishment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Critics accused him of arrogance, of economic mismanagement, and of unduly centralizing Canadian decision-making to the detriment of the culture of Quebec and the economy of the Prairies.His eldest son, Justin Trudeau, became the 23rd and current Prime Minister following the 2015 election, and is the first prime minister of Canada to be a descendant of a former prime minister.