The Supreme Court has had 58 of its 112 members since 1900, with 9 of them being Chief Justices, and 4 of those also having earlier served as Associate Justices.
It is more fun to discuss the greatest Supreme Court Justices since 1900, as done in an earlier blog post, but here are the 10 worst, most disastrous Supreme Court Justices, listed chronologically,
Willis Van Devanter
James Clark McReynolds
Fred M. Vinson
Tom C. Clark
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
The first four are known as the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, united against the New Deal, and causing Franklin D. Roosevelt to become engaged in the controversial Court Packing Plan of 1937. Van Devanter was appointed by William Howard Taft; McReynolds by Woodrow Wilson; and Sutherland and Butler by Warren G. Harding.
Vinson and Clark were appointed by Harry Truman, with judicial appointments one area that Truman was rated as poor in selection, despite other areas of strength in his Presidency.
Powell was selected by Richard Nixon; Scalia by Ronald Reagan; Thomas by George H. W. Bush; and Alito by George W. Bush.
Powell wrote a memorandum that had a long range influence, promoting the development of right wing think tanks, and forecasting the eventual Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010, granting corporations and wealthy individuals the right to engage in politics without any financial limitations. He saw those who wished to regulate business as dangers to unregulated capitalism, and argued for aggressive actions against any regulatory power by governments at all levels. This memorandum was sent before Powell was appointed to the Supreme Court, and was not generally known about until recent years, after his death.
So 3 of the 10 worst Justices were selected by Democrats, and the other 7 by Republicans, a total of 8 Presidents involved in these terrible selections.