Lifetime Judges or Lifetime Congressmen

By Alannah NicPhaidin

The Supreme Court hearings has caught a lot of people’s attention. There is a lot of talk about how the appointment is for life, and there is nothing you can do about the justice once they are in, as they are appointed for life. As nominee Gorsuch said during questioning “Judges aren’t legislators. We serve for life. You can’t get rid of us.”

That gave us an idea, which branch sticks around DC longest?

Just to make it more interesting we decided to compare only the longest serving members in the history of the court, to the longest serving members in the history of Congress AND the longest serving current members.

The longest serving Supreme Court Justice ever was William O. Douglas, who served from April 17th, 1939- November 12th, 1975. Total time served: 36 years and 209 days.

He would barely crack the top 80 longest serving members of Congress, and by the end of the year, he will be would have been knocked down to 84th.

The current longest-serving member on the court is Justice Kennedy, and he would rank 17th out of the Current members in Congress and wouldn’t even be in contention for top 100 longest-serving members of Congress.

The numbers don’t lie, check them out for yourself!

The results beg the question who really has lifetime appointments?

Current Members of CongressLength of termAll time longest serving members of CongressLength of termAll time longest serving Members of the CourtLength of time on bench
John Conyers52 years, 75 daysJohn Dingell59 years, 21 daysWilliam O. Douglas36 years, 218 days
Thad Cochran44 years, 75 daysRobert Byrd57 years, 176 daysStephen Johnson Field34 years, 201 days
44 years, 13 daysCarl Hayden56 years, 319 daysJohn Paul Stevens34 years, 201 days
Patrick Leahy42 years, 75 daysDaniel Inouye53 years, 118 daysJohn Marshall34 years, 160 days
Chuck Grassley42 years, 75 daysJamie L. Whitten53 years, 60 daysHugo Black34 years, 37 days
Ed Markey40 years, 137 daysJohn Conyers52 years, 75 daysJohn Marshall Harlan33 years, 315 days
Orrin Hatch40 years, 75 daysCarl Vinson50 years, 61 daysWilliam J. Brennan, Jr.33 years, 285 days
Thad Cochran39 years, 168 daysEmanuel Celler49 years, 305 daysWilliam Rehnquist33 years, 248 days
Richard Shelby38 years, 75 daysSam Rayburn48 years, 257 daysJoseph Story33 years, 228 days
Jim Sensenbrenner38 years, 75 daysSidney R. Yates48 years, 0 daysJames Moore Wayne32 years, 180 days
Ron Wyden36 years, 75 daysStrom Thurmond47 years, 159 daysJohn McLean31 years, 91 days
Pat Roberts36 years, 75 daysWright Patman47 years, 3 daysByron White31 years, 84 days
Chuck Schumer36 years, 75 daysTed Kennedy46 years, 292 daysBushrod Washington30 years, 302 days
Hal Rogers36 years, 75 daysCharles Rangel46 years, 0 daysWilliam Johnson30 years, 95 days
Chris Smith36 years, 75 daysJoseph Gurney Cannon46 years, 0 daysAntonin Scalia29 years, 147 days
Chuck Grassley36 years, 75 daysAdolph J. Sabath45 years, 247 daysOliver Wendell Holmes29 years, 42 days
36 years, 75 daysJ. Lister Hill45 years, 142 daysAnthony Kennedy29 years, 40 days
Marcy Kaptur34 years, 75 daysThad Cochran44 years, 75 daysRoger B. Taney28 years, 205 days
Sander Levin34 years, 75 daysDon Young44 years, 13 daysSamuel Freeman Miller28 years, 91 days
Mitch McConnell34 years, 75 daysGeorge H. Mahon44 years, 0 daysJohn Catron28 years, 36 days
Joe Barton34 years, 75 days
Pete Visclosky34 years, 75 days
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