The Center for Disease Control provides data that allows anyone to calculate the likelihood of their own impending death. Using this information, Slate permits us to determine the likelihood that any Supreme Court Justice, or any combination of Justices, will die in the next four years. This is important, obviously, since we are all interested in how many Justices are likely to be replaced by President Obama. Here are the relevant odds:




Likelihood of Death by 2017

Justice/Combination of Justices Probability of Dying
Any Justice 63.61%

Any of the 5 Conservatives 45.58%

Any of the 4 Liberals 32.16%

Alito 5.78%

Breyer 15.35%

Ginsburg 17.66%

Kagan 1.4%

Kennedy 19.03%

Roberts 3.99%

Scalia 18.13%

Sotomayor 1.9%

Thomas 11.19%




You should note that if you run these yourself, you will likely arrive at slightly different numbers, since this is but one out of 10,000 possible simulations. I had always presumed that Ginsburg was the most likely to be replaced, but it appears that Kennedy is more likely to need to be replaced by Obama. Also, it is important to note that this does not consider the likelihood that any Justice or set of Justices will choose to retire during Obama’s tenure. This latter event also must factor in who the likely presidential nominees are expected to be in 2015 or 2016.