Presiding judicial officer within any multijudge court. It is the h1 of the highest judicial officer in any U.S. state, and of the leader of the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. chief justice, like the associate justices, is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate for a lifetime tenure. The chief justices of some state supreme courts are subject to popular election and mandatory retirement ages. Chief justices are normally responsible for the administration of their own court and the preparation of the judiciary's budget.
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The salary of the Chief Justice is set by Congress, and it is slightly higher than that of the Associate Justices. , it is $217,400 per year.
The Constitution of the United States does not explicitly establish the office of Chief Justice, but presupposes its existence with a single reference in Article I, Section 3: "When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside." Nothing more is said in the Constitution regarding the office, including any further distinction between the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, who are never mentioned in the Constitution.
The office is often informally but mistakenly referred to as "Chief Justice of the Supreme Court." However, specifies the official title as "Chief Justice of the United States." The official title changed at the suggestion of the sixth Chief Justice, Salmon P. Chase, who wished to emphasize the Court's role as a coequal branch of government. By contrast, the other eight members of the Court are officially Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, not "Associate Justices of the United States."
The Chief Justice, like the other justices, is nominated by the President and confirmed to sit on the Court by the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Constitution states that all justices of the Court "shall hold their offices during good behavior," meaning that the appointments only end when a justice dies in office, chooses to resign, or is impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate.
Some chief justices, like William H. Rehnquist, were elevated by the President while serving on the bench as an Associate Justice. Justices who are elevated to the position of Chief Justice from that of Associate Justice must again be confirmed by the Senate (a rejection by the Senate, however, does not end their tenure as an associate justice; it merely precludes them from serving as Chief Justice). Most chief justices, including Roberts, have been nominated to the highest position on the Court without any previous experience on the Court; indeed some, like John Marshall and Earl Warren, were selected without any prior judicial experience.
In addition to the duties of the associate justices, the Chief Justice has several unique duties.
Further, the Chief Justice would preside over the impeachment trial of the Vice President if, under the terms of the 25th Amendment, the Vice President is serving as Acting President. However, no Vice President has been impeached (though Spiro Agnew resigned under threat of impeachment), and none has been Acting President for more than a few hours.
The Chief Justice sets the agenda for the weekly meetings where the justices review the petitions for certiorari, to decide whether to hear or deny each case. Less than one percent of cases petitioned to the Supreme Court are agreed to be heard. While Associate Justices may append items to the weekly agenda, in practice this initial agenda-setting power of the Chief Justice has significant influence over the direction of the court.
Despite the seniority and added prestige, the Chief Justice's vote carries no more legal weight than those of the other eight justices. However, in any vote, the most senior justice in the majority has the power to decide who will write the Opinion of the Court. Since the Chief Justice is always considered the most senior member, if he or she is in the majority then the Chief Justice decides who will write the Opinion of the Court. This power to determine the author of the Court's opinion (including the choice to select him or herself) allows a Chief Justice who is in the majority to influence the historical record. Two justices in the same majority, given the opportunity, might write very different majority opinions (as evidenced by many concurring opinions); being assigned the opinion may also cement the vote of an Associate who is viewed as only marginally in the majority (a tactic that was reportedly used to some effect by Earl Warren). A Chief Justice who knows his Associates can therefore do much—by the simple act of selecting the justice who writes the Opinion of the Court—to affect the "flavor" of the opinion, which in turn can impact the interpretation of that opinion in cases before lower courts in the years to come. It is said that some chief justices, notably Earl Warren and Warren Burger, sometimes switched votes to a majority they disagreed with in order to be able to use this prerogative of the Chief Justice to dictate who would write the opinion.
The Chief Justice of the United States did not administer the initial oath of office to seven Presidents. Robert Livingston, as Chancellor of the State of New York, administered the oath of office to George Washington at his first inauguration; William Cushing, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, administered the second. Calvin Coolidge's father, a notary public, administered the oath to his son after the death of Warren Harding. This, however, was contested upon Coolidge's return to Washington and his oath was re administered by Judge A. Hoehling of the District of Columbia Supreme Court. United States district court Judge Sarah T. Hughes administered the oath to Lyndon Johnson after the John F. Kennedy assassination. John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Chester A. Arthur, and Theodore Roosevelt's initial oaths reflected the unexpected nature of their taking office.
|No.||Chief Justice||Image||Term of Office||Nominated by President|
|1||John Jay||October 19, 1789–June 29, 1795||George Washington|
|2||John Rutledge*§||July 1, 1795–December 15, 1795||George Washington|
|William Cushing**§§||February 3, 1796–February 5, 1796||George Washington|
|3||Oliver Ellsworth||March 8, 1796–December 15, 1800||George Washington|
|4||John Marshall||February 4, 1801–July 6, 1835†||John Adams (F)|
|5||Roger Brooke Taney||March 28, 1836–October 12, 1864†||Andrew Jackson (D)|
|6||Salmon Portland Chase||December 15, 1864–May 7, 1873†||Abraham Lincoln (R)|
|7||Morrison Remick Waite||March 4, 1874–March 23, 1888†||Ulysses S. Grant (R)|
|8||Melville Weston Fuller||October 8, 1888–July 4, 1910†||Grover Cleveland (D)|
|9||Edward Douglass White**||December 19, 1910–May 19, 1921†||William Howard Taft (R)|
|10||William Howard Taft***||July 11, 1921–February 3, 1930||Warren G. Harding (R)|
|11||Charles Evans Hughes §||February 24, 1930–June 30, 1941||Herbert Hoover (R)|
|12||Harlan Fiske Stone**||July 3, 1941–April 22, 1946†||Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)|
|13||Frederick Moore Vinson||June 24, 1946–September 8, 1953†||Harry S Truman (D)|
|14||Earl Warren||October 5, 1953–June 23, 1969||Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)|
|15||Warren Earl Burger||June 23, 1969–September 26, 1986||Richard Nixon (R)|
|16||William Hubbs Rehnquist**||September 26, 1986–September 3, 2005†||Ronald Reagan (R)|
|17||John Glover Roberts, Jr.||September 29, 2005–present||George W. Bush (R)|