The Supreme Court has, in recent decades, become a group of lower court judges who move up to the Supreme Court.
The thought that politicians, who were elected to public office or appointed to a President’s cabinet, would end up on the Supreme Court, is no longer a likelihood, which is, in many ways, tragic, as being a politician gives a different perspective on law than those appointed to lower courts and moving up to the Supreme Court.
Among those few politicians elected or appointed to public office who served on the Supreme Court in the past century of time are:
Charles Evans Hughes–Governor Of New York 1907-1910, Republican Presidential nominee in 1916, Secretary of State 1921-1925, along with serving as Associate Justice 1910-1916 and Chief Justice 1930-1941, appointed by William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover.
William Howard Taft—Secretary of War 1904-1908, President of the United States 1909-1913, along with serving as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 1921-1930, appointed by Warren G. Harding.
George Sutherland—Utah Congressman 1901-1903, Senator from Utah 1905-1917, along with serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1922-1938, appointed by Warren G. Harding.
Hugo Black–Senator from Alabama 1927-1937, along with serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1937-1971, appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Frank Murphy–Mayor of Detroit 1930-1933, Governor of Michigan 1937-1939, Attorney General of the United States, 1939-1940, along with serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1940-1949, appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Harold Burton— Mayor of Cleveland Ohio 1936-1940, Governor Of Ohio 1941-1945, along with serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1945-1958, appointed by Harry Truman.
Sherman Minton—Senator from Indiana 1935-1941, along with serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1949-1956, appointed by Harry Truman.
Earl Warren—Attorney General of California, 1939-1943, Governor of California 1943-1953, along with serving as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 1953-1969, appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower.
These eight Supreme Court Justices include four Governors, three US Senators, three Cabinet members, two Presidential candidates, one Congressman, two Mayors, and one State Attorney General.
Two prominent politicians came under consideration for the Supreme Court under President Bill Clinton, but both turned down an appointment—New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Maine Senator and Majority Leader George Mitchell. Both would have been valuable additions to the Court, but instead two people with judicial experience—Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer—were chosen, although they have worked out very well in their time on the Court.