Skip to main content

The Four Justices

October 28, 2013 – Indefinitely

The Four Justices by Nelson Shanks, 2012 / Ian and Annette Cumming Collection / On loan to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

The Four Justices

National Portrait Gallery
8th and G Streets, NW
Washington, DC
2nd Floor, Rotunda

On view is a life-size portrait by Nelson Shanks of the four female Supreme Court justices: Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. The work is monumental; it measures approximately seven feet by five-and-a-half feet (in its custom-made frame it is almost nine-and-a-half feet by eight feet) and holds the west wall of the National Historic Landmark Building’s second-floor rotunda.

Only men had sat on the bench of the Supreme Court until President Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981. After O’Connor, the next woman to receive an appointment was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a nominee of President Bill Clinton in 1993. President Barack Obama appointed Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan are still on the bench; O’Connor retired in 2006.

Back to Top Back to Main Content