The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States. Its membership consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices. The justices are nominated by the President of the United States and appointed after confirmation by the United States Senate. Justices of the Supreme Court have life tenure and receive a salary which is set at $255,500 per year for the chief justice and at $244,400 per year for each associate justice as of 2014. On August 7, 2010, Justice Elena Kagan became the 112th justice to serve on the Court.
The Supreme Court was created in 1789 by Article III of the United States Constitution, which stipulates that the "judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court" together with any lower courts Congress may establish. Congress organized the Court that year with the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789. It specified the Court's original and appellate jurisdiction, created thirteen judicial districts, and fixed the number of justices at six (one chief justice and five associate justices).
Since the passage of the Judiciary Act, Congress has occasionally altered the size of the Supreme Court, historically in response to the country's own expansion in size. Membership was decreased in 1801 to five, then increased to seven members in 1807, to nine in 1837, and to ten in 1863. It was then reduced to seven in 1866. In 1869, Congress set the Court's size to nine members, where it has remained since. While the justices of the Supreme Court are appointed for life, some choose to leave the Court before their death: a total of 54 have retired or resigned. The average age of newly appointed justices is about 53 years old. Historically, the average length of service on the Court has been less than 15 years; however, since 1970 the average length of service has increased to about 26 years.
List of justices
The following lists all justices aside from Edwin Stanton, who died before taking office.
|#||Judge||State||Born/Died||Active service||Chief Justice||Retirement||Appointed by||Reason for
|4||John Blair, Jr.||VA||1732–1800||
|15||Henry Brockholst Livingston||NY||1757–1823||
|—||—||Adams, J. Q.||Death|
|23||James Moore Wayne||GA||1790–1867||
|24||Roger B. Taney†||MD||1777–1864||
|25||Philip Pendleton Barbour||VA||1783–1841||
|28||Peter Vivian Daniel||VA||1784–1860||
|31||Robert Cooper Grier||PA||1794–1870||
|32||Benjamin Robbins Curtis*||MA||1809–1874||
|33||John Archibald Campbell||AL||1811–1889||
|35||Noah Haynes Swayne||OH||1804–1884||
|36||Samuel Freeman Miller||IA||1816–1890||
|38||Stephen Johnson Field||CA||1816–1899||
|39||Salmon P. Chase†||OH||1808–1873||
|41||Joseph P. Bradley||NJ||1813–1892||
|44||John Marshall Harlan||KY||1833–1911||
|45||William Burnham Woods||AL||1824–1887||
|51||David Josiah Brewer||KS||1837–1910||
|52||Henry Billings Brown||MI||1836–1913||
|53||George Shiras, Jr.||PA||1832–1924||
|54||Howell Edmunds Jackson||TN||1832–1895||
|55||Edward Douglass White†||LA||1845–1921||
Taft (chief)[n 2]
|56||Rufus Wheeler Peckham||NY||1838–1909||
|1921 (acting)[n 3]||—||McKinley||Retirement|
|58||Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.||MA||1841–1935||
|1930 (acting)[n 4]||—||Roosevelt, T.||Retirement|
|59||William R. Day||OH||1849–1923||
|60||William Henry Moody||MA||1853–1917||
|—||—||Roosevelt, T.||Retirement[n 5]|
|61||Horace Harmon Lurton||TN||1844–1914||
|62||Charles Evans Hughes||NY||1862–1948||
|63||Willis Van Devanter||WY||1859–1941||
|64||Joseph Rucker Lamar||GA||1857–1916||
|66||James Clark McReynolds||TN||1862–1946||
|68||John Hessin Clarke||OH||1857–1945||
|69||William Howard Taft†||OH||1857–1930||
|72||Edward Terry Sanford||TN||1865–1930||
|73||Harlan F. Stone†||NY||1872–1946||
|[n 8]1941–1946||—||Coolidge (associate)
Roosevelt, F. (chief)[n 2]
|62||Charles Evans Hughes†||NY||1862–1948||
|75||Benjamin N. Cardozo||NY||1870–1938||
1953 (acting)[n 9][n 10]
|Roosevelt, F.||Retirement[n 6]|
|77||Stanley Forman Reed||KY||1884–1980||
|Roosevelt, F.||Retirement[n 6]|
|Roosevelt, F.||Retirement[n 6]|
|79||William O. Douglas||CT||1898–1980||
|Roosevelt, F.||Retirement[n 6]|
|81||James F. Byrnes||SC||1882–1972||
|82||Robert H. Jackson||NY||1892–1954||
|83||Wiley Blount Rutledge||IA||1894–1949||
|84||Harold Hitz Burton||OH||1888–1964||
|85||Fred M. Vinson†||KY||1890–1953||
|86||Tom C. Clark||TX||1899–1977||
|89||John Marshall Harlan II||NY||1899–1971||
|90||William J. Brennan, Jr.*||NJ||1906–1997||
|91||Charles Evans Whittaker||MO||1901–1973||
|Johnson, L.||Retirement[n 6]|
|97||Warren E. Burger†||VA||1907–1995||
|99||Lewis F. Powell, Jr.||VA||1907–1998||
Reagan (chief)[n 2]
|101||John Paul Stevens||IL||1920–||
|2005 (acting)[n 12]||
|102||Sandra Day O'Connor||AZ||1930–||
|Bush, G. H. W.||Retirement|
|—||—||Bush, G. H. W.||Currently serving|
|107||Ruth Bader Ginsburg||NY||1933–||
|109||John G. Roberts†||MD||1955–||
|2005–present||—||Bush, G. W.||Currently serving|
|—||—||Bush, G. W.||Currently serving|
The graphic below is a timeline depicting the progression of the justices in the United States Supreme Court. Information regarding their seat number, predecessors, successors and fellow justices, as well as their tenure on the court can be gleaned from the timeline. Additionally, the progression of presidents (with the number of justices they nominated) is shown at the top of the timeline to give a more detailed historical context. Three presidents (Taft, F. Roosevelt, Reagan), in addition to successfully nominating several justices to the court, elevated an associate justice to chief justice. These elevations are counted as nominations, and are designated with a caret (^). Several justices began their terms on the bench after the inauguration of a new president.
This graphical representation of the progression of the High Court allows some otherwise obscure information to be easily noted. For example, Joseph Story (in the early 19th century) and Stephen Breyer (in the late 20th and early 21st centuries) are each noteworthy for serving over 11 years as the court's most junior member. Samuel Blatchford (in the 1880s) served the third longest as the court's most junior member at less than 6 years. Thomas Johnson (1790s), Robert Trimble (1820s) and Arthur Goldberg (1960s) are the only justices to leave the court while still being the court's most junior member. William Rehnquist is unique in that he is the only justice to witness all of his more senior justices leave the court, without witnessing any of his more junior justices leave the court. Hugo Black, in addition to witnessing all eight of his predecessors leave the court, saw fourteen more junior members replaced on the court, meaning he worked beside a record thirty justices.
- Supreme Court of the United States
- List of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States by court composition
- List of law schools attended by United States Supreme Court Justices
- List of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States by seat
- List of United States Supreme Court Justices by time in office
- List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States
- Was later reappointed as chief justice
- This individual was elevated from associate justice to chief justice. Unlike the inferior courts, the chief justice is separately nominated and subject to a separate confirmation process, regardless of whether or not he or she is already an associate justice.
- Under 36 Stat. 1152, McKenna acted as chief justice from White's death on May 19, 1921 until Taft took office on July 11, 1921.
- Under 36 Stat. 1152, Holmes acted as chief justice from Taft's departure on February 3, 1930 until Hughes took office on February 24, 1930.
- There is some disagreement on how Moody exited office. According to the Federal Judicial Center, Moody resigned. According to the Supreme Court Historical Society, Moody retired. It turns out that the confusion comes from the fact that Moody was allowed to retire by special act of Congress in 1910 due to prolonged ill health. (Moody did not meet the minimum age and service requirements to retire without this waiver.)
- Beginning in the 20th century, many justices who left the Court voluntarily did so by retiring as Supreme Court justices without leaving the federal judiciary altogether. Some databases refer to this as an election by the justice of senior status, although the term "senior status" is used almost exclusively with regard to judges of lower federal courts, not the Supreme Court. A "retired justice", as the status is referred to in the United States Code, is no longer a member of the Supreme Court of the United States, but remains eligible to serve by designation as a judge of a U.S. Court of Appeals or District Court (and many retired justices have indeed served in these capacities). However, because the justice ceases to be a member of the Supreme Court as of the moment of retirement, the reason for these justices' leaving the Supreme Court is given as "retirement", although the reason for the justice's later leaving the federal judiciary altogether might be a subsequent act of (full) retirement or the justice's death.
- There is some disagreement on how William Howard Taft exited office. According to some sources, such as the Supreme Court Historical Society, Taft retired. According to others, such as the Federal Judicial Center, Taft resigned.
- Under 36 Stat. 1152, Stone acted as chief justice from Hughes's retirement on June 30, 1941 until Stone took the oath of office as chief justice three days later.
- Under 36 Stat. 1152, Black acted as chief justice from Stone's death on April 22, 1946 until Vinson took office on June 24, 1946.
- Under 62 Stat. 869, Black acted as chief justice from Vinson's death on September 8, 1953, until Warren took office on October 5, 1953. The Supreme Court was not in session during this brief period.
- In 1971, Rehnquist was appointed from Arizona, but in 1986, when elevated to chief justice, he was appointed from Virginia.
- Under 28 U.S.C. § 3, Stevens acted as chief justice from Rehnquist's death on September 3, 2005 until Roberts took office on September 29, 2005. The Supreme Court was not in session during this brief period.
- "Article III". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
- Mears, Bill (January 1, 2010). "Chief Justice Roberts has little to say at year's end". CNN. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
- Barnes, Robert (January 1, 2010). "Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts opts not to ask Congress to raise judicial salaries". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
- Rowley, James (January 13, 2014). "Federal Judges in U.S. See $25,000 More as Salary Freeze Falls". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
- "Elena Kagan sworn in by Roberts to become 112th Supreme Court Justice". Los Angeles Times. August 7, 2010. Retrieved August 7, 2010.
- "About The Supreme Court". Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
- "Supreme Court Research Guide". Georgetown Law Library. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
- Smith, Jean Edward (July 26, 2007). "Stacking the Court". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
- Rosen, Jeffrey (February 26, 2008). "Dems' Choices For Bench Surprisingly Slim". CBS News. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
- United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary (1971). Nominations of William H. Rehnquist and Lewis F. Powell, Jr: Hearings, Ninety-second Congress, first session, on nominations of William H. Rehnquist, of Arizona, and Lewis F. Powell, Jr., of Virginia, to be Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
- "Executive Session". Congressional Record. September 17, 1986. p. 23803.
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