Supreme Court of the United States

The Roberts Court, 2018
Back row (left to right): Neil Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett Kavanaugh. Front row (left to right): Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Samuel Alito

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States of America. Because of this, the Court leads the Judicial Branch of the United States Federal Government. It is the only U.S. court established by the United States Constitution. Its decisions are supposed to be followed by all other courts in the United States. The Court meets in its own building in Washington, D.C. However, until 1935, the Supreme Court met in the United States Capitol.

There are 9 justices on the court now: one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices. The most recent justice, Amy Coney Barrett, replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she died. Courts are unofficially named for the Chief Justice; the current Court is called the "Roberts Court" after Chief Justice John Roberts.

The Supreme Court chooses which cases it will decide on. Many people ask the Supreme Court to decide their cases, but the court refuses most of them. For the Supreme Court to decide a case, the case must be about federal law or be about the laws of more than one state. Cases must first be decided by a federal District Court and a federal Court of Appeals or by a state supreme court. Even after that, the Supreme Court can choose not to decide a case for any reason. There are some cases that can start in the Supreme Court and that the Supreme Court must decide, but those are usually rare.

The justices serve for life unless they want to retire earlier or are impeached. If a justice retires, he or she can still be asked to serve as a judge on a federal Court of Appeals. New justices are nominated (picked) by the President of the United States, and then must be approved by the United States Senate.

The present Court[change | change source]

The current court is named "The Roberts Court" named after Chief Justice John Roberts.

Justice /
birthdate and place
Appointed by SCV Age at Start date /
length of service
Previous position or office
(most recent prior to joining the Court)
Replaced
Start Present
File-Official roberts CJ cropped.jpg John Roberts
January 27, 1955
Buffalo, New York
G. W. Bush 78–22 50 65 September 29, 2005
15 years, 50 days
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (2003–2005) Rehnquist
Clarence Thomas official SCOTUS portrait (cropped).jpg Clarence Thomas
June 23, 1948
Pin Point, Georgia
G. H. W. Bush 52–48 43 72 October 23, 1991
29 years, 26 days
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (1990–1991) Marshall
Stephen Breyer official SCOTUS portrait crop.jpg Stephen Breyer
August 15, 1938
San Francisco, California
Clinton 87–9 55 82 August 3, 1994
26 years, 107 days
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1990–1994) Blackmun
Samuel Alito official photo (cropped).jpg Samuel Alito
April 1, 1950
Trenton, New Jersey
G. W. Bush 58–42 55 70 January 31, 2006
14 years, 292 days
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1990–2006) O'Connor
Sonia Sotomayor in SCOTUS robe crop.jpg Sonia Sotomayor
June 25, 1954
The Bronx, New York
Obama 68–31 55 66 August 8, 2009
11 years, 102 days
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1998–2009) Souter
Elena Kagan-1-1.jpg Elena Kagan
April 28, 1960
Manhattan, New York
Obama 63–37 50 60 August 7, 2010
10 years, 103 days
Solicitor General of the United States (2009–2010) Stevens
Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch Official Portrait (cropped 2).jpg Neil Gorsuch
August 29, 1967
Denver, Colorado
Trump 54–45 49 53 April 10, 2017
3 years, 222 days
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (2006–2017) Scalia
Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh Official Portrait.jpg Brett Kavanaugh
February 12, 1965
Washington, D.C.
Trump 50–48 53 55 October 6, 2018
2 years, 43 days
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (2006–2018) Kennedy
Amy Coney Barrett.jpg Amy Coney Barrett
January 28, 1972
New Orleans, Louisiana
Trump 52–48 48 48 October 27, 2020
22 days
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (2017–2020) Ginsburg
     Source: [1]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Current Members". www.supremecourt.gov. Washington, D.C.: Supreme Court of the United States. Retrieved October 21, 2018.