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5 Interesting Facts About The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Of The United States is a court established by the Constitution of the United States. It was implemented in 1789 and has faced a lot of changes since. Being one of the most important parts of the US government, The Supreme Court certainly has some surprising and interesting facts. Here are 5 interesting facts about the Supreme Court Of The United States;

1) There are not any official qualifications for being appointed as a Supreme Court Justice.

In order to be appointed as a Supreme Court Justice, the person needs to be selected by the president. But the constitution mentions no qualifications to be chosen. The only common thing among justices of the supreme court is that they all had experiences as lawyers. Before attending law school was mandatory for justices, some worked with mentors to pass the bar exam. James Byrnes, who was a judge from 1941 to 1942, did not graduate from high school and worked as a law clerk before being appointed. Harvard University is the top law school who has produced 20 justices to serve on the supreme court. There have been many justices from different nationalities, ages and backgrounds. Up until now, six justices have been foreign born. The youngest justice appointed was Joseph Story. He was only 32 years old when he was appointed. The oldest justice to serve the court was Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, who retired at the age of 90.

2) Even though Justices are appointed for life, they can be impeached.

When a Justice is chosen by the president, they are appointed for life. The longest serving judge in the court’s history is William O. Douglas. He served the court for 36 years and 7 months from April 1939 to November 1975. Even though justices are expected to serve the court for a lifetime, over 50 have made the decision to retire or resign. Only one justice has ever been impeached: Samuel Chase. He was accused of acting prejudiced. Therefore the US House of Representatives voted to impeach him in 1804. Since then, no judge has ever been impeached.

3) The number of Justices was not always nine.

The Supreme Court was established by the US Constitution however The Congress, the Legislative Branch consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, was to decide the number of Justices. The number was set as six in 1789 with one chief justice and five associate justices. The reason was that, this way, the judges were also required to sit on federal circuit courts. Three judges would be in charge of each circuit court. In 1807, the Congress changed the number to seven. In 1837, it became nine, and in 1863 it was changed to ten. To prevent President Andrew Johnson from appointing anyone new to the court, in 1866, the Congress decreased the number to seven. In 1869, the number was raised to nine again and did not change ever since.

4) The court got a permanent home after being around for 145 years.

The first session of the US supreme court was held in February 1790 in New York City which was then the capital of the United States. From 1791 to 1800 it gathered in Philadelphia, until the capital was Washington D.C. In 1801 the court started assembling in Washington in the capitol building. In 1929, Chief Justice William Taft urged the Congress to authorize having their own building. 9.74 million dollars were spent on the building that was designed by famous architect Cass Gilbert. Today, the building has its own police alongside a top-floor gym.

5) The court has received 10,000 annual requests to review cases, but has taken action on only about 80.

The Supreme court justices usually take on cases with important legal principles or cases in which lower courts have disagreed on the clarification of federal laws. Most of the cases come from state courts. That is why they do not review all the cases they recieve. The Supreme Court has the right to hear a case before any appellate review. An Appellate review is the power that a higher court has to examine decisions of lower courts. The Supreme Court justices usually hear cases on appeal. Appeals are based on arguments that there were errors in the trial’s method or in the judge’s interpretation of the law. Because the justices hear cases on appeal, evidence is most likely not presented in court. So the lawyers send written legal arguments in advance and judges listen to oral arguments. The judges can ask questions while each side makes their 30 minute presentation. After the presentations are finished, the judges meet in private to discuss and vote. İf there is a tie, the decision of the lower court is validated.

Work Cited:

The Legislative Branch

Accessed July 9, 2022

History of the Supreme Court of the United States

Accessed July 9, 2022

7 Things You Might Not Know About the US Supreme Court

Accessed July 10, 2022


Accessed July 10, 2022

The Judicial Branch

Accessed July 10, 2022

Supreme Court

Accessed July 11, 2022

Appellate review

Accessed July 11, 2022

Accessed July 11, 2022

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