The Judicial Branch is led by Chief Justice John Roberts. The longest serving of the associate justices are Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The remaining members are Justice Stephen Bryer, Justice Samuel Alito, Jr., Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan.Continue Reading
Members of the Judicial Branch are appointed by the president of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. At the direction of the Constitution, Congress decides how many justices serve at one time. At times there have been as few as six justices. Since 1869 the total number of serving justices has remained nine. Justices are only removed from office if impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate. Otherwise, justices serve until death or retirement.
No Supreme Court justice has ever been removed from office by impeachment and conviction. From 1804 until 2015, only one Supreme Court justice has ever been impeached. Samuel Chase was impeached in 1804 on charges of arbitrary and oppressive conduct of trials. He was acquitted by the Senate in 1805 and remained on the bench until he died in 1811.
The Judicial Branch of the U.S. government is the only branch appointed to office rather than facing periodic elections, thereby removing political pressure from decisions they make and allowing them to focus solely on justice.Learn more about Branches of Government