The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest ranking judicial body in the United States. Its membership, as set by the Judiciary Act of 1869, consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, any six of whom would constitute a quorum. 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.
The Supreme Court was created in 1789 by Article III of the United States Constitution, which stipulated 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 1789, Congress has occasionally altered the size of the Supreme Court, historically in response to the country's own expansion in size. An 1801 act would have decreased the Court's size to five members upon its next vacancy. However, an 1802 act negated the effects of the 1801 act upon the Court before any such vacancy occurred, maintaining the Court's size at six members. Later legislation increased its size to seven members in 1807, to nine in 1837, and to ten in 1863. An 1866 act was to have reduced the Court's size from ten members to seven upon its next three vacancies, and two vacancies did occur during this period. However, before a third vacancy occurred, the Judiciary Act of 1869 intervened, restoring the Court's size to nine members, where it has remained since.
While the justices of the Supreme Court are appointed for life, many have retired or resigned. Beginning in the early 20th century, many justices who left the Court voluntarily did so by retiring from the Court without leaving the federal judiciary altogether. A retired justice, according to the United States Code, is no longer a member of the Supreme Court, 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 served in these capacities. 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.
Current justices of the Supreme Court
A look at the current Supreme Court - President Trump's Supreme Court nominee could effect the future of the court, so here's a look at the current justices.
There are currently nine justices serving on the Supreme Court; listed in order of seniority, they are:
All justices of the Supreme Court
Since the Supreme Court was established in 1789, 113 persons have served on the Court. William O. Douglas holds the record for longest tenure on the CourtÂ â" 36 years, 211 days, and Thomas Johnson's 163 day tenure is the shortest. Five individuals were confirmed for associate justice, and later appointed chief justice separately: Charles Evans Hughes, William Rehnquist, John Rutledge, Harlan F. Stone, and Edward Douglass White. While listed twice, each of them has been assigned only one index number. The justices of the Supreme Court are:
This graphical timeline depicts the progression of the justices on the Supreme Court. Information regarding each justice's predecessors, successors and fellow justices, as well as their tenure on the court can be gleaned (and comparisons betwen justices drawn) from it. Additionally, The progression of presidents, along with the number of justices each nominated, is shown at the top of the timeline to give a more detailed historical context. Regarding the associate justice seat numbers, due to the several changes in the size of the Court since 1789, two of the ten seats chronicled belowâ""Seat 7" and "Seat 5"â"have been abolished, both as a result of the Judicial Circuits Act of 1866.
This graphical timeline depicts the length of each current Supreme Court justice's tenure on the Court.
- Law of the United States
- List of courts of the United States
- List of national supreme courts
- Biographies of Justices