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The Supreme Court: Justices

The Supreme Court is made up of nine Justices. One of these is the Chief Justice. They are appointed by the President and must be approved by the Senate. Once a person has been approved by the Senate and sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, s/he remains in the job for life. The only way a Justice may leave the job is to resign, retire, die, or be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. No Justice has ever been removed by impeachment. There are no official qualifications in order to become a Justice, although all have been trained in the law and most pursued legal and political careers before serving on the Court. Several justices served as members of Congress, governors, or members of the Cabinet. One president, William Howard Taft, was later appointed chief justice.

Here is a list of the current Supreme Court Justices:

  • Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
  • Justice Antonin Scalia
  • Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
  • Justice Clarence Thomas
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Justice Stephen G. Breyer
  • Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor
  • Justice Elena Kagan

The number of Supreme Court Justices has changed over the years. Initially, the Court was made up of six Justices who had been appointed by George Washington. The first time they met was February 1, 1790. The number of Justices has been as high as 10. President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to raise the number to 15 at one point, but the number has been nine since 1869.