Which Supreme Court Justices are Considered Conservative?

Conservatism and liberalism are two primary philosophies that have a significant impact on the Supreme Court. The way these two ideologies affect the court’s decisions has become increasingly important in recent years. The Supreme Court is not immune to politics, and the ideology of the justices appointed by the president can be a decisive factor in shaping their decisions. The nine justices on the Supreme Court are often divided into either a liberal or conservative camp. In this blog post, we will explore which Supreme Court justices are considered conservative and how their interpretation of the Constitution shapes their decision making. Let’s dive into the world of conservative justices on the Supreme Court.


The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States and is responsible for interpreting the Constitution. Its decisions have far-reaching consequences for people across the country, particularly when it comes to issues like civil rights, healthcare, and criminal justice. The Court is made up of nine justices who are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.

One of the most important factors that people consider when evaluating potential Supreme Court justices is their political ideology. Some believe that conservative justices are more likely to interpret the Constitution based on its original meaning, while others believe that liberal justices are more likely to take a broader view of the document in light of modern-day realities.

In recent years, the battle over conservative versus liberal Supreme Court justices has become increasingly contentious, with both sides accusing the other of politicizing the judiciary. Despite this, the appointment of conservative justices remains a top priority for some politicians, particularly those who are concerned about issues such as abortion, gun rights, and religious liberty.

Overall, understanding the role of the Supreme Court and the importance of conservative justices within it is crucial for anyone who wants to stay informed about the direction of American jurisprudence. In the sections that follow, we’ll take a closer look at what conservatism means in the context of the Supreme Court, and which current justices are considered to be conservative.

What is Conservatism in the Supreme Court?

Conservative Interpretation of the Constitution

Conservative Interpretation of the Constitution

When it comes to interpreting the U.S. Constitution, conservative justices tend to approach the document with a strict adherence to its original meaning and intent. They believe that the Constitution is a fixed, unchanging document that should be interpreted literally as written by the Founding Fathers. This conservative interpretation contrasts with the more liberal view that the Constitution is a living document that can evolve over time.

One key aspect of conservative interpretation is the principle of limited government. Conservatives believe in a strong federalist system that reserves power for individual states and limits the role of the federal government. They argue that this approach is more faithful to the intentions of the Framers, who were wary of centralized power and believed in protecting individual liberties.

Another important aspect of conservative interpretation is a focus on individual rights, particularly those enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Conservatives often see themselves as defenders of First Amendment rights such as free speech and freedom of religion, as well as Second Amendment rights to bear arms.

Conservative justices are also more likely to take a textualist approach to interpreting the Constitution, which means they look solely at the words of the text itself rather than considering outside factors or contextual analysis. This approach is meant to prevent judges from injecting their own subjective interpretations into the law.

Overall, the conservative interpretation of the Constitution emphasizes a strict constructionist approach that prioritizes limited government, individual rights, and a literal reading of the text. While this perspective has been influential in shaping the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence, it remains a topic of debate among legal scholars and politicians alike.

Judicial Restraint and Originalism

Judicial Restraint and Originalism

When it comes to legal interpretation, the conservative approach often involves principles of judicial restraint and originalism. These two concepts are closely related, but distinct in their own ways.

Judicial restraint is the idea that judges should interpret laws narrowly and avoid making decisions that have far-reaching implications. In other words, judges should only rule on cases that are directly relevant to the specific issue at hand, rather than trying to make broad changes to the law. This approach emphasizes the importance of preserving the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.

On the other hand, originalism is a legal theory that holds that the meaning of the Constitution should be interpreted as the original drafters intended. Originalists believe that the text of the Constitution is fixed and unchanging, and that any changes must be made through the amendment process. This approach is particularly popular among conservative legal scholars and judges, who argue that the Constitution should be interpreted based on its original meaning, rather than through contemporary social or political developments.

Taken together, these two principles form a powerful framework for conservative legal thinking. By emphasizing narrow interpretations of the law and strict adherence to the original meaning of the Constitution, judicial restraint and originalism offer a roadmap for conservative judges to follow when deciding cases.

For example, Justice Clarence Thomas is known for his strong commitment to originalism. In a 2019 opinion, he argued that the Constitution’s Second Amendment protects the right to carry a firearm outside of one’s home. He came to this conclusion by examining the original understanding of the Second Amendment at the time it was drafted, rather than looking to more recent interpretations of the law.

However, there are some criticisms of these approaches. Some legal scholars argue that judicial restraint can lead to overly narrow interpretations of the law, while others contend that originalism is too rigid and fails to take into account changing social and political contexts.

Overall, the concepts of judicial restraint and originalism are important components of conservative legal thinking. They provide a framework for judges to interpret the law in a consistent and principled way, while also emphasizing the importance of preserving the Constitution’s original meaning.

Current Conservative Supreme Court Justices

Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas is one of the most controversial conservative justices on the Supreme Court. He has served on the bench since 1991 and has been known for his staunch conservative opinions and his reluctance to speak during oral arguments.

Thomas was born in Georgia in 1948 and graduated from Yale Law School in 1974. Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, he served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel under President Ronald Reagan and as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

As a conservative justice, Thomas has been known for his strict interpretation of the Constitution. He believes that the Constitution should be interpreted according to what the Founding Fathers intended at the time of its writing. This approach is known as originalism and is often contrasted with the liberal view of the Constitution as a living document that should evolve with society.

Thomas has also been a strong advocate for limited government and states’ rights. He believes that the federal government should have a limited role in people’s lives and that most policy decisions should be left up to the states.

Despite his conservative stance, Thomas has been known to occasionally side with the liberal justices on certain issues. For example, he has been a strong supporter of free speech and has sometimes joined the liberal justices in striking down laws that limit free expression.

Overall, Clarence Thomas is an influential figure on the Supreme Court and a prominent voice in the conservative legal movement. Whether you agree with his views or not, there is no denying his impact on American law and politics.

Samuel Alito

Samuel Alito

Samuel Alito is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed in January 2006. Alito is considered a conservative justice and has been known for his strict interpretation of the Constitution.

Alito’s conservative views are reflected in his opinions and decisions as a justice. He is known for being a staunch defender of individual rights, particularly the Second Amendment. In District of Columbia v. Heller, Alito wrote the dissenting opinion arguing that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms without any qualifications.

Alito has also been known for his pro-business stance. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Alito joined the majority opinion that corporations and unions have the same free speech rights as individuals, allowing them to spend unlimited amounts of money in political campaigns.

In addition to his conservative views, Alito is also known for his meticulous attention to detail and his thorough analysis of cases before him. He is often described as a careful and thoughtful jurist who takes great care in crafting his opinions.

Overall, Samuel Alito is one of the leading conservative voices on the Supreme Court. His opinions and decisions have had a significant impact on a wide range of issues, including gun rights, campaign finance, and individual liberties.

Neil Gorsuch

Neil Gorsuch

Neil Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2017. He is known for his conservative views and his interpretation of the Constitution. Gorsuch, like other conservative justices, believes that the Constitution should be interpreted as it was written when it was adopted and not updated based on modern values or changes in society.

Gorsuch’s opinions often focus on the text of the law and its original meaning. He has been known to take a strict approach to interpreting statutes, which means he looks only at the words in the statute and does not consider the legislative history or intent. This approach has led him to vote against expansive interpretations of the law that would give more power to federal agencies.

One notable case where Gorsuch dissented from the majority opinion was in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County. In this case, the majority decided that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Gorsuch disagreed with the decision, stating that the court was overstepping its bounds by making law rather than interpreting it.

Gorsuch’s adherence to conservative principles has also been evident in his opinions related to religious freedom. In the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Gorsuch sided with the baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding based on his religious beliefs. Gorsuch argued that the state was targeting the baker’s religious beliefs and violated his First Amendment rights.

Overall, Neil Gorsuch is considered a reliable conservative justice on the Supreme Court. His strict interpretation of the Constitution and his focus on the text of the law have made him a key player in many controversial cases that have come before the court.

Brett Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh was nominated by former President Donald Trump in July 2018 to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. After a contentious confirmation process, Kavanaugh was confirmed and sworn in on October 6, 2018.

Kavanaugh has been described as a staunch conservative, with a record of ruling in favor of conservative positions and causes. He has been known to take a textualist approach to interpreting the Constitution, meaning that he reads the document at face value and believes in adhering strictly to its original meaning. This approach often leads him to rule against progressive policies.

One landmark case that shows Kavanaugh’s conservative leanings is his dissent in the 2020 case of June Medical Services LLC v. Russo. The case concerned a Louisiana law that required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. In his dissent, Kavanaugh wrote that the law did not create a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, despite evidence to the contrary.

Another notable case is his dissent in the 2019 case of Garza v. Hargan. In that case, Kavanaugh dissented from a decision that allowed an undocumented teenager to obtain an abortion while in government custody. Kavanaugh argued that the government had a right to delay her ability to access an abortion, despite the fact that she had already been granted permission from a judge.

Overall, Kavanaugh’s appointment has shifted the balance of the Supreme Court further to the right. As a result of his conservative views, he is likely to continue to make rulings that favor conservative positions and causes.

Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate in October 2020 as the newest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. As a conservative jurist, Barrett is expected to interpret the Constitution through an originalist lens and prioritize judicial restraint.

Before joining the Supreme Court, Barrett served as a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. During her confirmation hearing, critics raised concerns about her conservative views on issues such as abortion and healthcare. However, her supporters praised her for her strong record of upholding the law and defending the Constitution.

One of the notable aspects of Barrett’s approach to constitutional interpretation is her commitment to originalism. This means that she believes the Constitution should be interpreted based on its original meaning at the time it was written. This perspective contrasts with the liberal view that the Constitution is a living document that can be adapted to modern times.

Barrett has also expressed support for judicial restraint, which calls for judges to refrain from making policy decisions and instead defer to elected officials. This approach is particularly important when interpreting laws and regulations, as judges should not substitute their own judgment for that of the legislative branch or executive branch.

Overall, Amy Coney Barrett is considered a reliable conservative voice on the Supreme Court who will likely play a significant role in shaping legal decisions related to hot-button issues such as abortion, gun control, and religious liberty. Her appointment has been met with both praise and criticism, but only time will tell how her tenure on the nation’s highest court will unfold.


The Supreme Court is an indispensable pillar of the US justice system. The appointment of conservative justices in recent years has been a topic of significant debate, with both sides presenting arguments for and against these appointments.

Conservative justices on the Supreme Court have been known to interpret the Constitution through a strict textualist framework, with a focus on originalism and judicial restraint. This approach emphasizes the importance of adhering to the meaning of the text as it was understood by the Founding Fathers when the Constitution was drafted. It also prioritizes the role of the judiciary as interpreters of the law rather than creators of new legislation.

Some argue that having more conservative justices on the Supreme Court ensures that the court remains a neutral arbiter guided by constitutional principles. Others contend that these appointments are politically motivated and undermine the court’s legitimacy as an impartial institution.

While it may be too early to determine the full impact of the current crop of conservative justices, their decisions thus far highlight the distinctively conservative approach they take to interpreting the law. For instance, Justice Neil Gorsuch’s opinion in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County extended workplace protections to LGBTQ+ employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, but only because he believed the text of the statute required it.

Regardless of one’s personal beliefs about the role of conservative justices on the Supreme Court, it is clear that their presence will continue to shape the legal landscape of the United States for years to come. Their decisions will affect countless individuals and organizations across the country, making it essential for all Americans to stay informed about the composition and decisions of the Supreme Court.
Conservatism in the Supreme Court is a complex and evolving topic, shaped by different schools of thought, interpretations of the Constitution, and political context. The appointment of conservative justices to the Supreme Court has significant implications for the interpretation of laws, individual rights, and the balance of power in society. As we have seen, the current Supreme Court has a conservative majority, with five justices considered conservative. While their judicial philosophy and decisions are not monolithic, they generally uphold traditional values, limited government, and strict interpretation of the Constitution. Whether this trend will continue or shift in the future remains to be seen, but it is clear that the Supreme Court’s role in shaping the legal landscape of the United States and influencing public opinion is more crucial than ever. As citizens, we must remain vigilant in understanding and engaging with the ideological underpinnings of our highest court and how they affect our lives and the future of our democracy.

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