The Gross Lock

There have been seventeen Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. The first of them to be appointed in the era of the “modern” Democratic/Republican two-party system was the sixth Chief Justice, Salmon Portland Chase, who was brought to the Court by President Abraham Lincoln shortly after his re-election in 1864.

Of the eleven other Chief Justices who’ve served in the 144 years since that appointment, only three were selected by Democratic presidents, and those three served a total of about 24 years (Democratic presidents were in the White House for 60 years of that span). The last Chief Justice selected under a Democratic administration was Fred Moore Vinson (appointed by Harry Truman), who died in office more than 55 years ago.