Note to media: At least 38 of 111 Supreme Court justices had no prior judicial experience
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Media figures have advanced the myth that judicial experience is a pre-requisite for a Supreme Court justice. In fact, two of the last four previous chief justices -- William Rehnquist and Earl Warren -- had no judicial experience when first nominated to the Court by Republican presidents. Neither did other famous justices, including Felix Frankfurter, Louis Brandeis, and John Marshall, known as the "Great Chief Justice."
Rehnquist, Warren, Frankfurter, Brandeis, and Marshall are far from alone. Indeed, according to Findlaw.com's Supreme Court Center, 40 of the 111 Supreme Court justices had no judicial experience when they were first nominated.
UPDATE: According to Henry J. Abraham's* book, Justices, Presidents, and Senators: A History of Supreme Court Appointments from Washington to Bush II, there were 38 justices with no prior judicial experience.
The list from Findlaw.com:
* Name corrected
** Headline updated