Nine judges, called justices, form the United States Supreme Court. One of the justices serves as the chief justice, while the remaining eight serve as associate justices. The nine current Supreme Court justices include Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel Anthony Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.Continue Reading
The president nominates candidates to the Supreme Court, but the Congress must approve all nominations. Once approved, justices serve lifetime terms. Many Supreme Court justices serve for decades, although the average tenure of the 112 current and former justices is 16 years. Chief Justice John Marshall was the longest serving justice, remaining on the bench for more than 34 years. Justices have ranged between 44 and 68 years of age at the time of their appointment.
The Supreme Court’s purpose is to interpret the Constitution, and the court has been involved in deciding several cases with far-reaching implications. Among the most important rulings issued by the court were the 1966 ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, which established the need for law enforcement to advise arrested citizens of their rights, and the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.Learn more about Branches of Government
Supreme Court justices are determined by the Executive and Legislative branches of government. They are nominated by the President, and they must be confirmed by a simple majority of the U.S. Senate.Full Answer >
The United States Constitution does not specify any qualifications for Supreme Court justices, and no special requirements exist concerning age, education, profession, experience or citizenship. Justices do not need to have particular legal experience, nor do they need to be lawyers. However, as of 2014, all justices have had some sort of preparation in law.Full Answer >
The president of the United States nominates all federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, and the Senate confirms them. The Constitution does not stipulate the qualifications for these justices, only that they demonstrate "good behavior."Full Answer >
In the Marbury v. Madison case, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of William Marbury's argument, but his commission was still denied because the court lacked the power to issue a writ of mandamus. The court ruled that President Thomas Jefferson, through his Secretary of State James Madison, was wrong to prohibit Marbury from becoming the Justice of the Peace of Washington County in the District of Columbia.Full Answer >