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Encyclopedia > United States Supreme Court Justice

The Supreme Court
of the United States
The Court
Main Article  · Decisions
Process  · History  · Building
Current members
John Roberts
John Paul Stevens  · Antonin Scalia
Anthony Kennedy · David Souter
Clarence Thomas  · Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer  · Samuel Alito
All members
By Court · By seat · By time in office
Chief Justices · By time in office
All nominations
Unsuccessful nominations
Court demographics
edit this template

The Supreme Court of the United States is the supreme court in the United States. As the highest court in the U.S., it provides the leadership of the judicial branch of the U.S. federal government. Image File history File links Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court. ... This is a chronological list of notable cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. ... The Supreme Court of the United States is the only court specifically established by the Constitution of the United States, implemented in 1789. ... The Judiciary Act of 1789 implemented the entire federal judicial branch, including the Supreme Court. ... The Supreme Court building is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... John Glover Roberts, Jr. ... John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is an American jurist and the senior Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. ... Justice Antonin Scalia Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) has been a U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice since 1986. ... Justice Anthony Kennedy For other people of the same name, see Anthony Kennedy (disambiguation). ... Justice David Souter Justice David Hackett Souter (born September 17, 1939) has been an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1990. ... Justice Clarence Thomas Justice Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ... Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Justice Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15, 1933) is a United States jurist. ... Justice Stephen Breyer Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is an American attorney, political figure, and jurist. ... Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. ... In order to become a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, an individual must be nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Senate, with at least half of that body approving in the affirmative. ... In order to become a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, an individual must be nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Senate, with at least half of that body approving in the affirmative. ... In order to become a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, an individual must be nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Senate, with at least half of that body approving in the affirmative. ... This is a list of U.S. Supreme Court Justices by time in office. ... The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the judicial branch of the government of the United States, and presides over the Supreme Court of the United States. ... This is a list of U.S. Chief Justices by time in office. ... To become a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, an individual must be nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Senate, with at least half of that body approving in the affirmative. ... Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. ... The demographics of the Supreme Court of the United States have been raised as an issue in various contexts over the last century. ... The supreme court in some countries, provinces, and states, is the highest court in that jurisdiction and functions as a court of last resort whose rulings cannot be appealed. ... The judiciary, also referred to as the judicature, consists of the system of courts of law for the administration of justice and to its principals, the justices, judges and magistrates among other types of adjudicators. ... ...


The court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, who are nominated by the President and confirmed with the "advice and consent" of the Senate. Appointed to serve for life, they can be removed only by resignation or impeachment. No justice, however, has ever been removed from office by impeachment. The supreme court in some countries, provinces, and states, is the highest court in that jurisdiction and functions as a court of last resort whose rulings cannot be appealed. ... The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the judicial branch of the government of the United States, and presides over the Supreme Court of the United States. ... The Justices of the United States Supreme Court, other than the Chief Justice, are termed Associate Justices. ... The presidential seal was first used by president Hayes in 1880 and last modified in 1959 by adding the 50th star for Hawaii The President of the United States of America (often abbreviated to POTUS) is the head of state of the United States. ... US Capitol Building. ... Seal of the Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. ... The impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist presiding. ...


The Supreme Court is the only court established by the United States Constitution (in Article III); all other federal courts are created by Congress: The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal (national) government. ... Congress in Joint Session. ...

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

The court holds both original and appellate jurisdiction, the former established in the U.S. Constitution ("In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction," in Article III, Section II) and the latter defined by acts of Congress; the latter is used quite a bit more often. Like other appellate courts, the Supreme Court may exercise the power of judicial review, or the power to declare federal or state laws, as well as the actions of federal and state executives, unconstitutional. The decisions of the Supreme Court may not be appealed to any other body; as Justice Robert H. Jackson once famously remarked, "We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final." An Act of Congress is a bill or resolution adopted by both houses of the United States Congress to which one of the following events has happened: Acceptance by the President of the United States, Inaction by the President after ten days from reception (excluding Sundays) while the Congress is... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Appeal. ... Judicial review is the power of a court to review a law or an official act of a government employee or agent for constitutionality or for the violation of basic principles of justice. ... Justice Jackson Robert Houghwout Jackson (February 13, 1892 – October 9, 1954) was United States Attorney General (1940 - 1941) and an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1941 - 1954). ...


The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C., in the United States Supreme Court building. The court is sometimes referred to by the acronyms SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) and USSC (United States Supreme Court). Nickname: the District Motto: Justitia Omnibus (Justice for All) Official website: http://www. ... The Supreme Court building is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations formed from the initial letter or letters of words, such as NATO and XHTML, and are pronounced in a way that is distinct from the full pronunciation of what the letters stand for. ...

Contents


History

Main article: History of the Supreme Court of the United States

The History of the Supreme Court is generally told in terms of the Chief Justices who have presided over it. The Judiciary Act of 1789 implemented the entire federal judicial branch, including the Supreme Court. ...


Initially, during the tenures of Chief Justices Jay, Rutledge, and Ellsworth (1789–1801), the Court lacked a home of its own and any real prestige.


That changed forever during the Marshall Court (1801–1835), which declared the Court to be the supreme arbiter of the Constitution (see Marbury v. Madison), and made a number of important rulings which gave shape and substance to the Constitutional balance of power between the Federal government (referred to at the time as the "general" government) and the states. But Martin v. Hunter's Lessee showed the limits of that federal power -- although the U.S. High Court declared itself supreme over the Virginia state court, it had a difficult time enforcing its judgment in a hostile state. The Marshall Court ended the practice of each judge issuing his opinion seriatim, a remnant of British tradition, and instead one majority opinion of the Court was issued. The Marshall Court also saw Congress impeach a sitting Justice, Samuel Chase, who was acquitted. This impeachment was one piece of the power struggle between the Jeffersonians and the Federalists after the election of 1800 and the subsequent change in power. Holding Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 is unconstitutional to the extent it purports to enlarge the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court beyond that permitted by the Constitution. ... Martin v. ... Seriatim, Latin for in series, is a legal term typically used to indicate that a court is addressing multiple issues in a certain order, such as the order that the issues were originally presented to the court. ... Samuel Chase painting by John Beale Bordley (1836). ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


The Taney Court (1836–1864) made a number of important rulings, such as Sheldon v. Sill, which held that while Congress may not limit the subjects the Supreme Court may hear, the Constitution does not so restrain it where lower courts are concerned. However, it is primarily remembered for its ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford, the case which may have helped precipitate the Civil War. Sheldon v. ... Holding Blacks, whether slaves or free, could not become United States citizens and the plaintiff therefore lacked the capacity to file a lawsuit. ...


In the years following the United States Civil War, the Chase, Waite, and Fuller courts (1864–1910) interpreted the new civil war amendments to the Constitution, and developed the doctrine of substantive due process (Lochner v. New York; Adair v. United States). Under the White and Taft courts (1910–1930), the substantive due process doctrine reached its first apogee (Adkins v. Children's Hospital), and the Court held that the 14th Amendment applied the Bill of Rights to the states (Gitlow v. New York). The American Civil War was fought in the United States from 1861 until 1865 between the northern states, popularly referred to as the U.S., the Union, the North, or the Yankees; and the seceding southern states, commonly referred to as the Confederate States of America, the CSA, the Confederacy... Due process of law is a legal concept that ensures the government will respect all of a persons legal rights instead of just some or most of those legal rights, when the government deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. ... Holding New Yorks regulation of the working hours of bakers was not a justifiable restriction of the right to contract freely under the 14th Amendments guarantee of liberty. ... Adair v. ... Holding Minimum wage law for women violated the due process right to contract freely. ... A bill of rights is a statement of certain rights which, under a societys laws, citizens and/or residents either have, want to have, or ought to have. ... Holding Though the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits states from infringing free speech, the defendant was properly convicted under New Yorks criminal anarchy law for advocating the violent overthrow of the government, through the dissemination of Communist pamphlets. ...


During the Hughes, Stone, and Vinson courts (1930–1953), the court gained its own accommodation (see United States Supreme Court building) and radically changed its interpretation of the Constitution in order to facilitate the New Deal (West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish). The Supreme Court building is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: New Deal The New Deal is the name given to the series of programs implemented under President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the goal of stabilizing, reforming and stimulating the United States economy during the Great Depression. ... Holding Washingtons minimum wage law for women was a valid regulation of the right to contract freely because of the states special interest in protecting their health and ability to support themselves. ...


The Warren Court (1953–1969) made a number of celebrated and controversial rulings expanding the application of the Constitution to civil liberties, leading a renaissance in substantive due process. It held that segregation was unconstitutional (Brown v. Board of Education), that the Constitution protects a general right to privacy (Griswold v. Connecticut), that schools cannot have voluntary prayer (Engel v. Vitale) or, a fortiori, mandatory Bible readings (Abington School District v. Schempp), dramatically increased the scope of the doctrine of incorporation (Mapp v. Ohio; Miranda v. Arizona), read an equal protection clause into the Fifth Amendment, held that the states may not apportion a chamber of their legislatures in the manner in which the United States Senate is apportioned (Baker v. Carr; Reynolds v. Sims), and that the Constitution requires active compliance (Gideon v. Wainwright). Segregation means separation. ... Brown v. ... Holding A Connecticut law criminalizing the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy. ... Engel v. ... Holding The Court decided 8-1 in favor of the respondent, Edward Schempp, and declared sanctioned organized Bible reading in public schools in the United States to be unconstitutional. ... Mapp v. ... Holding The Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination requires law enforcement officials to advise a suspect interrogated in custody of his rights to remain silent and to obtain an attorney. ... The Equal Protection Clause is a part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing that no state shall make or enforce any law which shall. ... The Fifth Amendment may refer to the: Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution - part of the Bill of Rights. ... Holding The reapportionment of state legislative districts is not a political question, and is justiciable by the federal courts. ... Reynolds v. ... Gideon v. ...


The Burger Court (1969–1986) ruled that abortion was a constitutional right (Roe v. Wade), reached muddled and controversial rulings on affirmative action (Regents of the University of California v. Bakke) and campaign finance regulation (Buckley v. Valeo), and that the death penalty was unconstitutional (Furman v. Georgia) and then later that it was not unconstitutional (Gregg v. Georgia). Holding Texas laws criminalizing abortion violated womens Fourteenth Amendment right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy. ... Affirmative action (U.S. English), or positive discrimination (British English), is a policy or a program promoting the representation in various systems of people of a group who have traditionally been discriminated against, with the aim of creating a more egalitarian society. ... Time Regents of the University of California v. ... Holding --- Court membership Case opinions Laws applied --- Buckley v. ... Capital punishment, also referred to as the death penalty, is the judicially ordered execution of a prisoner as a punishment for a serious crime, often called a capital offense or a capital crime. ... Holding The arbitrary and inconsistant imposition of the death penalty violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment, and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. ... Holding The imposition of the death penalty does not, automatically, violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment, lower courts judgement is affirmed. ...


The Rehnquist Court (1986–2005) narrowed the focus of Roe v. Wade (Planned Parenthood v. Casey) but dramatically circumscribed the ability of states to regulate abortion (Stenberg v. Carhart), and began to limit -- through the theory of federalism -- the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause (United States v. Lopez; United States v. Morrison). Holding A Pennsylvania law that required spousal notification prior to obtaining an abortion was invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment because it created an undue burden on married women seeking an abortion. ... Holding Laws banning partial-birth abortion are unconstitutional if they do not make an exception for the womans health, or if they cannot be reasonably construed to apply only to the partial-birth abortion (intact D&X) procedure and not to other abortion methods. ... Federalism is the idea of a group or body of members that are bound together (latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. ... Holding Possession of a gun near a school is not an economic activity that has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. ... United States v. ...


The Roberts Court (2005-Present) began with the confirmation and swearing in of John Roberts on September 29th, 2005, and is the current court. John Glover Roberts, Jr. ... September 29 is the 272nd day of the year (273rd in leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Composition

Size of the court

President George W. Bush stands with U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, as they pose for photos with the U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices, as of October 2005. From left to right; Justice Ginsburg, Justice Souter, Justice Scalia, Justice Stevens, Chief Justice Roberts, President Bush (in blue tie), Justice O'Connor, Justice Kennedy, Justice Thomas and Justice Breyer.
President George W. Bush stands with U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, as they pose for photos with the U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices, as of October 2005. From left to right; Justice Ginsburg, Justice Souter, Justice Scalia, Justice Stevens, Chief Justice Roberts, President Bush (in blue tie), Justice O'Connor, Justice Kennedy, Justice Thomas and Justice Breyer.

The Constitution does not specify the size of the Supreme Court; instead, Congress has the power to fix the number of Justices. Originally, the total number of Justices was set at six by the Judiciary Act of 1789. As the country grew geographically, the number of Justices steadily increased. The court was expanded to seven members in 1807, nine in 1837 and ten in 1863. In 1866, however, Congress wished to deny President Andrew Johnson any Supreme Court appointments, and therefore passed the Judicial Circuits Act, which provided that the next three Justices to retire would not be replaced; thus, the size of the Court would eventually reach seven by attrition. Consequently, one seat was removed in 1866 and a second in 1867. By the Circuit Judges Act of 1869, the number of Justices was again set at nine (the Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices), where it has remained ever since. President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to expand the Court (see Court-packing Bill); his plan would have allowed the President to appoint one new, additional justice for every justice who reached the age of seventy but did not retire from the bench, until the Court reached a maximum size of fifteen justices. Ostensibly, this was to ease the burdens of the docket on the elderly judges, but it was widely recognized that the President's actual purpose was to add Justices who would favor his New Deal policies, which had been regularly ruled unconstitutional by the Court. The plan failed in Congress and the court changed course to accommodate the President's desires (see The switch in time that saved nine). In any case, Roosevelt's long tenure in the White House allowed him to appoint a large number of Justices. Image File history File linksMetadata Supreme_Court_October_2005. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Supreme_Court_October_2005. ... The first page of the Judiciary Act of 1789. ... For other people named Andrew Johnson, see Andrew Johnson (disambiguation). ... The Judicial Circuits Act of 1866 reorganized the United States federal judicial circuit courts and provided for the gradual elimination of several seats on the Supreme Court of the United States. ... The Judiciary Act of 1869 (16 Stat. ... Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), 32nd President of the United States (1933-1945), is best known for leading the U.S. through the Great Depression with his New Deal programs, building a powerful political coalition -- the New Deal Coalition -- that dominated American politics for decades, a... The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: New Deal The New Deal is the name given to the series of programs implemented under President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the goal of stabilizing, reforming and stimulating the United States economy during the Great Depression. ... The switch in time that saved nine was the name given by the press to the apparent sudden shift by Justice Owen J. Roberts from the conservative wing of the Supreme Court (represented by the Four Horsemen) to the liberal wing (represented by Three Musketeers) in the case West Coast...


Nomination, confirmation and tenure of Justices

Per Article II of the United States Constitution, the power to appoint Justices belongs to the President of the United States, acting with the advice and consent of the Senate. As a general rule, Presidents nominate individuals who broadly share their ideological views. However, nominees whose views are perceived as extreme may be blocked by the Senate (see List of Failed Nominations to the Supreme Court of the United States). In many cases, a Justice's decisions may be contrary to what the nominating President anticipated. A famous instance was Chief Justice Earl Warren; President Eisenhower expected him to be a conservative judge, but his decisions are arguably among the most liberal in the Court's history. Eisenhower later called the appointment the "the biggest damn fool mistake I ever made." The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... The presidential seal was first used by president Hayes in 1880 and last modified in 1959 by adding the 50th star for Hawaii The President of the United States of America (often abbreviated to POTUS) is the head of state of the United States. ... List of Failed Nominations to the Supreme Court of the United States contains unsuccessful nominations to the court, however, individuals on this list may have been appointed and confirmed at a later date. ... Earl Warren (March 19, 1891 – July 9, 1974) was a California district attorney, the 30th Governor of California, and the 14th Chief Justice of the United States (from 1953 to 1969). ... Dwight David Ike Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American soldier and politician. ...


While the President may nominate anyone, the "advice and consent" of the Senate is required for appointment. The confirmation process often attracts considerable attention from special interest groups, many of whom lobby senators to confirm or to reject. The Senate Judiciary Committee conducts hearings, questioning nominees to determine their suitability. Thereafter, the whole Senate considers the nomination; a simple majority vote is required to confirm or to reject a nominee. Rejections are relatively uncommon; the Senate has explicitly rejected only twelve Supreme Court nominees in its history. The most recent rejection of a nominee came in 1987, when the Senate refused to confirm Robert Bork. In 1991, Clarence Thomas's nomination was hampered by allegations of sexual harassment, but the Senate eventually confirmed him by a vote of 52–48. US Capitol Building. ... The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (informally Senate Judiciary Committee) is a standing committee of the United States Senate, the upper house of the United States Congress. ... List of Failed Nominations to the Supreme Court of the United States contains unsuccessful nominations to the court, however, individuals on this list may have been appointed and confirmed at a later date. ... Robert Bork Robert Heron Bork (born March 1, 1927 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a conservative American legal scholar who advocates the judicial philosophy of originalism. ... Justice Clarence Thomas Justice Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ...


In some cases, the Senate has defeated a nominee by failing to take a final vote on them, rather than by explicit rejection. For example, a filibuster indefinitely prolongs debate thereby preventing a vote; or the nominee may simply not be reported out of the Judiciary Committee. Furthermore, the President may withdraw a nomination; for instance, if the President feels that the nominee has little chance of being confirmed. Most recently, President George W. Bush granted a request by Harriet Miers to withdraw her 2005 nomination, citing her concerns about Senate requests for access to internal White House documents during the confirmation process. List of Failed Nominations to the Supreme Court of the United States contains unsuccessful nominations to the court, however, individuals on this list may have been appointed and confirmed at a later date. ... In a legislature or other decision making body, a filibuster is an attempt to extend debate upon a proposal in order to delay or completely prevent a vote on its passage. ... The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (informally Senate Judiciary Committee) is a standing committee of the United States Senate, the upper house of the United States Congress. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States. ... Harriet Miers Harriet Ellan Miers (born August 10, 1945) is an American lawyer, currently serving as White House Counsel. ...


While filibuster of a Supreme Court Justice may be an option to bar their nomination, no nominee for Associate Justice has ever been filibustered. As a sitting Associate Justice of the Court, Abe Fortas's nomination to become Chief Justice was successfully filibustered in 1968. President Johnson had nominated him to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after Earl Warren retired. Abe Fortas Abraham Fortas (June 19, 1910 - April 5, 1982) was a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice. ... Earl Warren (March 19, 1891 – July 9, 1974) was a California district attorney, the 30th Governor of California, and the 14th Chief Justice of the United States (from 1953 to 1969). ...


Until the 1980s, the approval process of Justices was frequently quick. From the Truman through Nixon administrations, Justices were typically approved in a month. From the Reagan through Clinton administrations, however, the process took much longer. Some speculate this is because of the increasing political role Justices play.[1]


When the Senate is in recess, the President may make a temporary appointment without the Senate's advice and consent. Such a recess appointee to the Supreme Court holds office only until the end of the next Senate session (at most, approximately two years). To continue to serve thereafter, the nominee must be confirmed by the Senate. Of the two Chief Justices and six Associate Justices who have received recess appointments, only Chief Justice John Rutledge was not subsequently confirmed for a full term. John Rutledge (September 17, 1739-July 18, 1800) was Governor of South Carolina, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and served on the U.S. Supreme Court (Chief Justice from August to December 1795). ...


The Constitution provides that Justices "shall hold their Offices during good Behavior" (unless appointed during a Senate recess). The term "good behavior" is interpreted to mean life. However, Justices may resign, retire into senior status, or be removed by impeachment and conviction by congressional vote (the last has never occurred). On average, a vacancy arises every two years; however, long stretches without any vacancies occur from time to time. For instance, no vacancy arose for the eleven years between Stephen Breyer's appointment in 1994 and Chief Justice William Rehnquist's death in 2005. Senior status is a form of semi-retirement for U.S. federal judges. ... Justice Stephen Breyer Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is an American attorney, political figure, and jurist. ... William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer, jurist and political figure, who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1972 until 1986, and as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States from 1986 until his death...


The Supreme Court's jurisprudence is often evaluated with respect to the service of a particular Chief Justice. Thus, for example, the Court between 1969 and 1986 is referred to as the "Burger Court" (for Chief Justice Warren E. Burger) and the Court between 1986 and 2005 is referred to as the "Rehnquist Court" (for Chief Justice William Rehnquist). Jurisprudence is the scientific study of law through a philosophical lens. ... Official portrait of Warren Burger, 1971. ... William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer, jurist and political figure, who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1972 until 1986, and as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States from 1986 until his death...


Qualifications for membership

The Constitution does not explicitly establish any qualifications for Justices of the Supreme Court. In fact it does not even specify citizenship or age as it does for the executive and legislative branches. However, Presidents normally nominate individuals who have prior legal experience. Typically, most nominees have judicial experience, either at the federal or state level. Several nominees have formerly served on federal Courts of Appeals, especially the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is often considered a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. Another source of Supreme Court nominees is the federal executive branch—in particular, the Department of Justice. Other potential nominees include members of Congress and academics. On the current Supreme Court, seven Justices previously served on federal courts (including three on the D.C. Circuit); two served on state courts; three were former law school professors; and three held full time positions in the federal executive branch. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ... Justice Department redirects here. ...


Nominees to the Supreme Court, as well as to lower federal courts, are evaluated by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary. The panel is composed of fifteen lawyers, including at least one from each federal judicial circuit. The body assesses the nominee "solely to professional qualifications: integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament," and offers a rating of "well qualified," "qualified," or "not qualified." The opinions of the committee bind neither the President nor the Senate; however, they are generally taken into account. American Bar Associations Washington, DC office The American Bar Association (ABA) is a voluntary bar association of lawyers which is not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States. ...


Other functions

Each Justice on the Supreme Court is assigned to at least one of the United States' thirteen judicial circuits. The Chief Justice is usually assigned to the District of Columbia Circuit, the Federal Circuit and the Fourth Circuit (which surrounds the District of Columbia); each Associate Justice is assigned to one or two judicial circuits. Congress has divided the United States into a number of judicial circuits, each of which includes several District Courts and a Court of Appeals to decide appeals from cases decided in the district courts within the circuit. ...


Under the Judiciary Act of 1789, each Justice was required to "ride circuit," or to travel within the assigned circuit and consider cases alongside local judges. This practice, however, encountered opposition from many Justices, who complained about the difficulty of travel. Moreover, several individuals opposed it on the grounds that a Justice could not be expected to be impartial in an appeal if he had previously decided the same case while riding circuit. Circuit riding was abolished in 1891. Now, the duty of a Supreme Court Justice in this regard is limited to hearing emergency petitions in the relevant circuit and some other routine tasks like addressing certain requests for extensions of time. The first page of the Judiciary Act of 1789. ...


After Associate Justice Alito's appointment, circuits were assigned as follows: [2]

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States District Courts: District of Maine District of Massachusetts District of New Hampshire District of Puerto Rico District of Rhode Island The court is based at the John Joseph... The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts: District of Connecticut Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of New York District of Vermont The Second Circuit hears argument at the Thurgood Marshall U... The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States District Courts: District of Delaware District of New Jersey Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts of Pennsylvania District of the United States Virgin Islands The court is based at... The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States district courts: District of Maryland Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts of North Carolina District of South Carolina Western and Eastern Districts of Virginia Northern and Southern Districts of... The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States District Courts: Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts of Louisiana Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi Western, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of Texas The court is based at... The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts: Western and Eastern Districts of Kentucky Western and Eastern Districts of Michigan Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts of Tennessee... The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States district courts: Central, Northern, and Southern Districts of Illinois Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin The court is based at the Dirksen... The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States district courts: Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa District of Minnesota Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri District of Nebraska District of... United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States district courts: District of Colorado District of Kansas District of New Mexico Eastern, Northern, and Western Districts of Oklahoma District of Utah District of Wyoming These districts were... The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States district courts: Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Florida Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Georgia These districts were originally part... The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or simply the Federal Circuit, was founded in 1982 to combine similar federal cases to a specialized appellate court. ...

Current membership

The current Justices of the United States Supreme Court, in order of seniority, are:

Name Date of Birth Age Home State Appt. by Conf. Vote First Day Prior Positions
John Roberts (Chief Justice) 1/27/55 51 Maryland G.W. Bush 78-22 9/29/05 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (2003–2005); Private practice (1993–2003); Principal Deputy Solicitor General (1989–1993); Private practice (1986–1989); Associate Counsel to the President (1982–1986); Special Assistant to the Attorney General (1981–1982)
John Paul Stevens 4/20/20 85 Illinois Ford 98-0 12/19/75 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1970–1975); Private practice (1948–1970); Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School (1950–1954); Lecturer, Northwestern University School of Law (1954–1958)
Antonin Scalia 3/11/36 69 Virginia Reagan 98-0 9/26/86 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1982–1986); Professor, University of Chicago Law School (1977–1982); Assistant Attorney General (1974–1977); Professor, University of Virginia School of Law (1967–1974)
Anthony Kennedy 7/23/36 69 California Reagan 97-0 2/18/88 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1975–1988); Professor, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific (1965–1988); Private practice (1963–1975)
David Souter 9/17/39 66 New Hampshire G.H.W. Bush 90-9 10/9/90 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1990–1990); Associate Justice, New Hampshire Supreme Court (1983–1990); Associate Justice, New Hampshire Superior Court (1978–1983); Attorney General of New Hampshire (1976–1978); Deputy Attorney General of New Hampshire (1971–1976); Assistant Attorney General of New Hampshire (1968–1971); Private practice (1966–1968).
Clarence Thomas 6/23/48 57 Georgia G.H.W. Bush 52-48 10/23/91 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1990–1991); Chairman, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1982–1990)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg 3/15/33 72 New York Clinton 97-3 8/10/93 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1980–1993); General Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union (1973–1980); Professor, Columbia Law School (1972–1980); Professor, Rutgers University School of Law (1963–1972)
Stephen Breyer 8/15/38 67 Mass. Clinton 87-9 8/3/94 Chief Judge, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1990–1994); Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1980–1990); Professor, Harvard Law School (1967–1980)
Samuel Alito 4/1/50 55 New Jersey G.W. Bush 58-42 1/31/06 Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1990–2006); Professor, Seton Hall University School of Law (1999–2004); U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey (1987–1990); Deputy Assistant Attorney General (1985–1987); Assistant to the Solicitor General (1981–1985); Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey (1977–1981)

*Average age is 66 years. John Glover Roberts, Jr. ... The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the judicial branch of the government of the United States, and presides over the Supreme Court of the United States. ... January 27 is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1955 (MCMLV in Roman) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Official language(s) None Capital Annapolis Largest city Baltimore Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 42nd 32,160 km² 145 km 400 km 21 37°53N to 39°43N 75°4W to 79°33W Population  - Total (2000)  - Density Ranked 19th 5,296,486 165... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States. ... September 29 is the 272nd day of the year (273rd in leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ... The United States Solicitor General is the individual tasked with arguing for the Government of the United States in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, when the government is party to a case. ... The White House Counsel is a staff appointee of the President of the United States. ... Alberto Gonzales, current Attorney General of the United States The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. ... John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is an American jurist and the senior Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. ... April 20 is the 110th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (111th in leap years). ... 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar) // Events January January 7 - Forces of Russian White admiral Kolchak surrender in Krasnoyarsk. ... Official language(s) English Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 25th 149,998 km² 340 km 629 km 4. ... Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. ... December 19 is the 353rd day of the year (354th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1975 calendar). ... The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States district courts: Central, Northern, and Southern Districts of Illinois Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin The court is based at the Dirksen... The Laird Bell Law Quadrangle at the University of Chicago Law School A few of the University of Chicagos law and economics scholars conversing in DAngelo Law Library. ... Category: ... Justice Antonin Scalia Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) has been a U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice since 1986. ... 11 March is the 70th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (71st in Leap year). ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 35th 110,862 km² 320 km 690 km 7. ... Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). ... September 26 is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 96 days remaining. ... 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ... The Laird Bell Law Quadrangle at the University of Chicago Law School A few of the University of Chicagos law and economics scholars conversing in DAngelo Law Library. ... Many of the divisions and offices of the United States Department of Justice are headed by an Assistant Attorney General. ... The University of Virginia School of Law was founded in Charlottesville in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson as one of the original subjects taught at his academical village, the University of Virginia. ... Justice Anthony Kennedy For other people of the same name, see Anthony Kennedy (disambiguation). ... July 23 is the 204th day (205th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 161 days remaining. ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 3rd 410,000 km² 402. ... Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989) and the 33rd Governor of California (1967–1975). ... February 18 is the 49th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII in Roman) was a leap year starting on a Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... The McGeorge School of Law of the University of the Pacific is a private law school in the city of Sacramento, State of California, commonly known as Pacific McGeorge. Founded in 1924, the school later merged with and became part of the University of the Pacific, a comprehensive private undergraduate... The University of the Pacific (Pacific, or UOP) is a private northern california university originally chartered in Santa Clara, California, under the name California Wesleyan College by the California Supreme Court, itself in its first year of existence, on July 10, 1851. ... Justice David Souter Justice David Hackett Souter (born September 17, 1939) has been an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1990. ... September 17 is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years). ... 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Official language(s) English Capital Concord Largest city Manchester Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 46th 24,239 km² 110 km 305 km 3. ... George Herbert Walker Bush, GCB, (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States (1989–1993). ... October 9 is the 282nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (283rd in Leap years). ... This article is about the year. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States District Courts: District of Maine District of Massachusetts District of New Hampshire District of Puerto Rico District of Rhode Island The court is based at the John Joseph... The New Hampshire Supreme Court is the supreme court of the U. S. state of New Hampshire, and its sole appellate court seated in Concord. ... The New Hampshire Superior Court is the statewide court of general jurisdiction which provides jury trials in civil and criminal cases. ... The State of New Hampshire Department of Justice (NHDOJ) is a government agency of the U.S. state of New Hampshire. ... The State of New Hampshire Department of Justice (NHDOJ) is a government agency of the U.S. state of New Hampshire. ... The State of New Hampshire Department of Justice (NHDOJ) is a government agency of the U.S. state of New Hampshire. ... Justice Clarence Thomas Justice Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ... June 23 is the 174th day of the year (175th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 191 days remaining. ... 1948 (MCMXLVIII) is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... George Herbert Walker Bush, GCB, (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States (1989–1993). ... October 23 is the 296th day of the year (297th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 69 days remaining. ... 1991 (MCMXCI in Roman) is a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ... The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is a U.S. federal agency tasked with ending employment discrimination in the United States. ... Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Justice Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15, 1933) is a United States jurist. ... March 15 is the 74th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (75th in Leap years). ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Official language(s) None, English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 27th 141,205 km² 455 km 530 km 13. ... William Jefferson Bill Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III, August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. ... August 10 is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1993 (MCMXCIII in Roman) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ... The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ... The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, is a non-governmental organization (NGO) whose stated goal is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person . ... Columbia Law School, located in New York City, is one of the professional schools of Columbia University and one of the leading law schools in the United States. ... Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is the largest institution for higher education in the U.S. state of New Jersey. ... Justice Stephen Breyer Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is an American attorney, political figure, and jurist. ... August 15 is the 227th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (228th in leap years), with 138 days remaining. ... 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... Official language(s) English Capital Boston Largest city Boston Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 44th 10,555 mi²; 27,360 km² 183 mi; 295 km 113 mi; 182 km 13. ... William Jefferson Bill Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III, August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. ... August 3 is the 215th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (216th in leap years), with 150 days remaining. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International year of the Family. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States District Courts: District of Maine District of Massachusetts District of New Hampshire District of Puerto Rico District of Rhode Island The court is based at the John Joseph... The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States District Courts: District of Maine District of Massachusetts District of New Hampshire District of Puerto Rico District of Rhode Island The court is based at the John Joseph... Harvard Law School (HLS) is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. ... Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. ... April 1 is the 91st day of the year (92nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 274 days remaining. ... 1950 (MCML in Roman) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Official language(s) None defined, English de facto Capital Trenton Largest city Newark Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 47th 22,608 km² 110 km 240 km 14. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States. ... January 31 is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI in Roman) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States District Courts: District of Delaware District of New Jersey Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts of Pennsylvania District of the United States Virgin Islands The court is based at... Seton Hall University is a Roman Catholic university in South Orange, New Jersey. ... United States Attorneys represent the U.S. federal government in United States district court. ... Many of the divisions and offices of the United States Department of Justice are headed by an Assistant Attorney General. ... The United States Solicitor General is the individual tasked with arguing for the Government of the United States in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, when the government is party to a case. ... United States Attorneys represent the U.S. federal government in United States district court. ...


Former Justices

Currently, there is only one surviving former Justice of the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor, who announced her intent to retire in 2005 and was formally replaced by Justice Alito in 2006. Sandra Day OConnor (born Sandra Day on March 26, 1930) is an American judge and politician who served as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Seniority and seating

During Court sessions, the Justices sit according to seniority, with the Chief Justice in the center, and the Associate Justices on alternating sides, with the most senior Associate Justice on the Chief Justice's immediate left, and the most junior Associate Justice seated on the right farthest away from the Chief Justice. Therefore, the current court sits as follows from left to right:


Breyer, Thomas, Kennedy, Stevens (most senior J), Roberts (CJ), Scalia, Souter, Ginsburg and Alito (most junior J).


Political leanings

Justices Scalia and Thomas are the court's two Originalists and are generally perceived to be the Court's conservative wing. Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer are generally perceived as its liberal wing. Justice Kennedy is considered a moderate, and a swing vote that has determined the outcomes of close cases (for example, he generally supports abortion rights but has voted to uphold laws that outlaw the late-term intact dilation and extraction method of abortion). To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... For related and other uses, see Conservatism (disambiguation) Conservatism is any of a number of political philosophies supporting traditional values or an established social order. ... American liberalism (also called modern liberalism) is a political current that claims descent from classical liberalism in terms of devotion to individual liberty, but rejects the laissez faire economics of classical liberalism in favor of institutions that promote social and economic equity. ... Intact dilation and extraction (IDX or Intact D&X), is a specific type of medical procedure —wherein a late-term fetus, is removed from the womb via the cervix (this includes miscarried and in the case of abortions, viable fetuses). ...


Chief Justice Roberts is generally thought to be somewhere in between conservative and moderate, but has not been on the bench long enough for this to be ascertained; he voted with Scalia and Thomas on Gonzales v. Oregon. Associate Justice Alito is thought by some to be in this vein as well, and many commentators regard him as likely more conservative than Roberts. Holding The Controlled Substances Act does not give the U.S. Attorney General the authority to prohibit doctors from prescribing drugs for use in physician-assisted suicide permitted by state law. ...


Quarters

Main article: United States Supreme Court building

The Supreme Court occupied various spaces in the United States Capitol until 1935, when it moved into its own purpose-built home at One First Street Northeast, Washington, DC. The four-story building was designed in a classical style sympathetic to the surrounding buildings of the Capitol complex and Library of Congress by architect Cass Gilbert, and is clad in marble quarried chiefly in Vermont. The building includes space for the Courtroom, Justices' chambers, an extensive law library, various meeting spaces, and auxiliary services such as workshop, stores, cafeteria and a gymnasium. The Supreme Court building is within the ambit of the Architect of the Capitol, but maintains its own police force, separate from the Capitol Police. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, DC, 1997, by Rick Dikeman File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, DC, 1997, by Rick Dikeman File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Supreme Court building is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... The Supreme Court building is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... United States Capitol The United States Capitol is the capitol building that serves as home for Congress, the legislative branch of the United States federal government. ... United States Capitol The United States Capitol is the capitol building that serves as home for Congress, the legislative branch of the United States federal government. ... Library of Congress, Jefferson building The Library of Congress is the unofficial national library of the United States. ... US Supreme Court Building, Washington DC, East Pediment, 1928 - 1935 Minnesota State Capitol Cass Gilbert (November 29, 1859 - May 17, 1934) attended MIT and worked for a time with the firm of McKim, Mead, and White. ... United States Capitol The Architect of the Capitol is responsible to the United States Congress for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of the United States Capitol Complex, which includes the Capitol, the congressional office buildings, the Library of Congress buildings, the United States Supreme Court building, the United States...


Jurisdiction

Seal of the Supreme Court
Seal of the Supreme Court
Main article: Procedures of the Supreme Court of the United States

Article Three of the United States Constitution outlines the jurisdiction of the federal courts of the United States: Image File history File links Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court. ... Image File history File links Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court. ... The Supreme Court of the United States is the only court specifically established by the Constitution of the United States, implemented in 1789. ... Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal (national) government. ...

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

The jurisdiction of the federal courts was further limited by the Eleventh Amendment, which forbade the federal courts from hearing cases "commenced or prosecuted against [a State] by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State." However, the Eleventh Amendment is not deemed to apply if a state consents to be sued (see Sovereign immunity). Moreover, the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress may abrogate the states' immunity from lawsuits in certain circumstances. In addition to constitutional constraints, the jurisdiction of the federal courts is also limited by various federal laws. For example, the federal courts may consider "Controversies ... between Citizens of different States" only if the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000; otherwise, the case may only be brought in state courts. Amendment XI (the Eleventh Amendment) of the United States Constitution was passed by the US Congress on March 4, 1794 and was ratified on February 7, 1795. ... Sovereign immunity or crown immunity is a type of immunity that, in common law jurisdictions traces its origins from early English law. ... Amount in controversy (sometimes called jurisdictional amount) is a term used in United States civil procedure to denote a requirement that persons seeking to bring a lawsuit in a particular court must be suing for a certain minimum amount before that court may hear the case. ...

Further information: diversity jurisdiction Diversity jurisdiction is a term used in civil procedure to refer to the situation in which a United States district court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear a civil case because the parties are diverse, meaning that they come from different states. ...


The Constitution specifies that the Supreme Court may exercise original jurisdiction in cases affecting ambassadors and other diplomats, and in cases in which a state is a party. In all other cases, however, the Supreme Court has only appellate jurisdiction. The Supreme Court considers cases based on its original jurisdiction very rarely; almost all cases are brought to the Supreme Court on appeal. In practice, the only original jurisdiction cases heard by the Court are disputes between two or more states.


The power of the Supreme Court to consider appeals from state courts, rather than just federal courts, was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789 and upheld early in the Court's history, by its rulings in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816) and Cohens v. Virginia (1821). The Supreme Court is the only federal court that has jurisdiction over direct appeals from state court decisions, although there are a variety of devices that permit so-called "collateral review" of state cases. The first page of the Judiciary Act of 1789. ... Martin v. ... Cohens v. ...


The Supreme Court may only hear actual cases and controversies. It does not hear moot cases or issue advisory opinions. However, the Supreme Court does often hear test cases, or cases specifically designed to test the constitutionality of a statute (rather than to merely redress a particular wrong). Many significant Supreme Court cases were test cases; examples include Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education. Furthermore, the Court may consider some cases, such as Roe v. Wade, that become moot during the judicial process, if it appears that the legal issue involved is likely to arise again but would not be reviewable by the Court under a strict mootness analysis. "Roe" had already had her baby when the case came to the Supreme Court, because judicial activity (trials, appeals and so on) takes much longer than human gestation. Because future abortion cases would face the same time constraints, the Court decided the case in spite of its mootness. This article is about the law term moot. ... Holding The separate but equal provision of public accommodations by state governments is constitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. ... Brown v. ... Holding Texas laws criminalizing abortion violated womens Fourteenth Amendment right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy. ...


The Supreme Court is not required to hear every case presented to it. In cases that are heard by a three-judge United States district court (a practice that formerly was somewhat common but has been limited to very few cases by legislation in recent years), there is a right of appeal directly to the Supreme Court, although the Court may dispose of these appeals by summary order if it does not believe they are important enough for full briefing and argument. In most instances, however, the party must petition the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. By custom, certiorari is granted on the vote of four of the nine Justices. In most cases, the writ is denied; the Supreme Court normally only considers matters of national or constitutional importance. If the Court refuses to grant certiorari, it does not comment on the merits of the case; the decision of the lower court stands unchanged as if Supreme Court review had not been requested. The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. ... This law-related article does not cite its references or sources. ... The rule of four is a United States Supreme Court rule that requires four votes out of the nine justices to grant a writ of certiorari. ...


Court reports and citation style

Supreme Court decisions are typically cited as in the following example: "Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)." The citation consists of the names of the opposing parties; the volume number; "U.S." (signifying United States Reports, the official reporter of Supreme Court decisions); the page number on which the decision begins; and the year in which the case was decided. The names of the opposing parties are listed in the format "Petitioner v. Respondent" or "Appellant v. Appellee." The Reporter of Decisions is responsible for publication of the Court's rulings. Two other widely used citation formats exist: the Supreme Court Reporter and the Lawyer's Edition, corresponding to two privately-published collections of decisions. Citations to cases in the Supreme Court Reporter would be structured as follows: Snowden v. Hughes, 64 S.Ct. 397 (1944). Citations to cases in the Lawyer's Edition would be as follows: Snowden v. Hughes, 88 L.Ed. 497 (1944). Judicial opinions often use parallel citation -- the citation from all three sources (the United States Reports, Supreme Court Reporter, and Lawyer's Edition), as seen here: Martin v. Texas, 200 U.S. 316, 26 S.Ct. 338, 50 L.Ed. 497 (1906). Holding Texas laws criminalizing abortion violated womens Fourteenth Amendment right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy. ... The United States Reports are the official records of the rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Seal of the Supreme Court The Reporter of Decisions of the United States Supreme Court is the official charged with editing and publishing the Courts decisions both when announced and in the bound volumes of the United States Reports. ...


Decisions of the Supreme Court are precedents that bind all lower courts, both federal and state. The Supreme Court generally respects its own precedents, but has in some cases overturned them.


Checks and balances

The Constitution does not explicitly grant the Supreme Court the power of judicial review; nevertheless, the power of the Supreme Court to overturn laws and executive actions it deems unlawful or unconstitutional is a well-established precedent. Many of the Founding Fathers accepted the notion of judicial review; in Federalist No. 78, Alexander Hamilton writes: "A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute." The Supreme Court first established its power to declare laws unconstitutional in Marbury v. Madison (1803), consummating the system of checks and balances. Alexander Hamilton, author of Federalist No. ... llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll A portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1792. ... Holding Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 is unconstitutional to the extent it purports to enlarge the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court beyond that permitted by the Constitution. ... The doctrine and practice of dispersing political power and creating mutual accountability between political entities such as the courts, the president or prime minister, the legislature, and the citizens. ...


The Supreme Court cannot directly enforce its rulings; instead, it relies on respect for the Constitution and for the law for adherence to its judgments. One notable instance of nonacquiescence came in 1832, when the state of Georgia ignored the Supreme Court's decision in Worcester v. Georgia. President Andrew Jackson, who sided with the Georgia courts, is supposed to have remarked, "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!"; however, this quotation is likely apocryphal. State militia in the South also resisted to desegregate schools after the judgment Brown v. Board of Education in the 1950s. More recently, many feared that President Richard Nixon would refuse to surrender the Watergate tapes, as he had been ordered to do by the Court in United States v. Nixon (1974). Nixon, however, ultimately complied with the Supreme Court's ruling. In law, nonacquiescence is a term of art applied to governments with separation of powers, where one branch refuses to acquiesce or comply with the decision of another. ... Worcester v. ... Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845), was the seventh President of the United States (1829-1837), hero of the Battle of New Orleans (1815), a founder of the Democratic Party, and the eponym of the era of Jacksonian democracy. ... John Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835) was a highly influential American statesman, lawyer, legislator and soldier who served as a Virginia Delegate, U.S. Representative, special emissary to France, United States Secretary of State and, most significantly, as the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. ... Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. ... The Watergate Complex (now the Watergate Hotel) as depicted in Government Exhibit 1. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


The Constitution provides that the salary of a Justice may not be diminished during his or her continuance in office. This clause was intended to prevent Congress from punishing Justices for their decisions by reducing their emoluments. Together with the provision that Justices hold office for life, this clause helps guarantee judicial independence. However, as seen above, the President's practice of appointing justices with similar real, perceived or expected ideology can be seen to compromise judicial independence. Judicial independence is the doctrine that decisions of the judiciary should be impartial and not subject to influence from the other branches of government or from private or political interests. ...


See also

The Judiciary Act of 1789 implemented the entire federal judicial branch, including the Supreme Court. ... This is a chronological list of notable cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. ... This is a chronological list of notable cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States from the beginning of active duty of Chief Justice John Jay on October 19, 1789, through the resignation of Chief Justice William Howard Taft on February 3, 1930. ... This is a chronological list of notable cases decided by the United States Supreme Court during the tenures of Chief Justices Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan Fiske Stone, Fred Vinson, Earl Warren and Warren Burger (February 24, 1930 through September 26, 1986). ... This is a chronological list of notable cases decided by the Supreme Court of the United States from the elevation of Chief Justice William Hubbs Rehnquist on September 26, 1986, to the present Court under Chief Justice John Glover Roberts, Jr. ... In order to become a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, an individual must be nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Senate, with at least half of that body approving in the affirmative. ... In order to become a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, an individual must be nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Senate, with at least half of that body approving in the affirmative. ... In order to become a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, an individual must be nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the U.S. Senate, with at least half of that body approving in the affirmative. ... The demographics of the Supreme Court of the United States have been raised as an issue in various contexts over the last century. ... The appointment of federal judges has become viewed as a political process in the last several decades. ... Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. ... The U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1789 by a constitutional convention, sets down the basic framework of American government in its seven articles. ... The United States federal courts are the system of courts organized under the Constitution and laws of the federal government of the United States. ... The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. ... Congress has divided the United States into a number of judicial circuits, each of which includes several District Courts and a Court of Appeals to decide appeals from cases decided in the district courts within the circuit. ... The Supreme Court building is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... // Case citation is the system used in common law countries such as the United States, England and Wales, Canada, New Zealand Australia and India to uniquely identify the location of past court cases in special series of books called reporters. ... There are several theories as to how judges ought to interpret legal sources (legislation, case law and constitutional provisions). ... The judiciary, also referred to as the judicature, consists of the system of courts of law for the administration of justice and to its principals, the justices, judges and magistrates among other types of adjudicators. ... The tone of this article is inappropriate for an encyclopedia. ...

References

American Bar Associations Washington, DC office The American Bar Association (ABA) is a voluntary bar association of lawyers which is not specific to any jurisdiction in the United States. ... Congressional Quarterly (CQ) produces a number of publications that report primarily on the United States Congress. ... The Harvard Law Review is a journal of legal scholarship published by a student-run group at Harvard Law School. ... The Bluebook: a Uniform System of Citation is a book and a widely used legal citation system in the United States. ... William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer, jurist and political figure, who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1972 until 1986, and as the 16th Chief Justice of the United States from 1986 until his death... General Sir Charles Warren, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., F.R.S. (1840–1927) was a British soldier and police commissioner. ... This article is about the journalist. ...

Suggested Readings

  • Garner, Bryan A. Black's Law Dictionary. Deluxe 8th ed. West, 2004. ISBN 0314151990.
  • Irons, Peter and Howard Zinn. A People's History of the Supreme Court. New York: Viking, 1999. ISBN 0670870064.
  • Rehnquist, William H. The Supreme Court. New York: Knopf, 2001. ISBN 0375409432.
  • Urofsky, Melvin and Paul Finkelman. A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States. 2 vols. New York: Oxford, 2001. ISBN 0195126378 & ISBN 0195126351.

Westlaw is one of two major fee-based online legal research systems, providing access to state and federal statutes, case law materials, public records, and other legal resources. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Supreme Court of the United States
The Roberts Court Seal of the U.S. Supreme Court
J. Roberts (2005–present)
2006–present: J.P. Stevens | A. Scalia | A. Kennedy | D. Souter | C. Thomas | R.B. Ginsburg | S. Breyer | S. Alito


Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ... John Glover Roberts, Jr. ... Image File history File links Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court. ... John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is an American jurist and the senior Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. ... Justice Antonin Scalia Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) has been a U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice since 1986. ... Justice Anthony Kennedy For other people of the same name, see Anthony Kennedy (disambiguation). ... Justice David Souter Justice David Hackett Souter (born September 17, 1939) has been an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1990. ... Justice Clarence Thomas Justice Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ... Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Justice Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15, 1933) is a United States jurist. ... Justice Stephen Breyer Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is an American attorney, political figure, and jurist. ... Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. ...

Image File history File links LinkFA-star. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Supreme Court of the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4143 words)
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest federal court in the United States of America.
The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C. It is sometimes known by the acronyms "SCOTUS" (Supreme Court of the United States) and "USSC" (United States Supreme Court).
Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas are generally considered to be the conservative wing of the court.
Supreme Court of the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3998 words)
The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest federal court in the United States.
The justices (currently nine) are appointed for life by the President of the United States and confirmed by majority vote by the Senate.
It is the highest-ranking court of the judicial branch of the United States government.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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