Nine justices comprise the U.S. Supreme Court, one chief justice and eight associate justices.
The number of associate justices may be fixed by Congress and under the authority of the act of June 25, 1948 (28 U.S.C. 1).
The president of the United States nominates candidates for the Supreme Court. They must be approved by the U.S. Senate.
Approval process for the chief justice is the same as it is for the associate justices.
Once approved, all justices serve for life. Congress can remove a justice through impeachment for corrupt behavior or other abuses of office, but this has never happened.
Chief justices are sworn in by the outgoing chief justices. Associate justices are sworn in by the current chief justice or one of the other associate justices.
Each justice oversees at least one of the 12 Federal Judicial Circuit Courts.
September 5, 2005 -
President George W. Bush nominates Judge John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the United States following the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
September 22, 2005 - Confirmed by the United States Senate.
October 3, 2005 - Sworn into office.
Oversees the District of Columbia Circuit, the Fourth Circuit and the Federal Circuit.
Born in Buffalo, New York; attended Harvard; served as Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit 2003-2005; has a wife, Jane, and two children.
March 11, 1936
Death date: February 13, 2016
June 17, 1986 -
Nominated by President Ronald Reagan
September 26, 1986 - Sworn into office.
Oversaw the Fifth Circuit
Born in Trenton, New Jersey; attended Harvard Law School; practiced law from 1961-1967; was a professor of law at University of Virginia, University of Chicago, Georgetown University and Stanford University; served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel from 1974-1977; appointed Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1982; had a wife, Maureen McCarthy, and nine children.
Anthony M. Kennedy
July 23, 1936
November 11, 1987 - To fill the seat vacated by Justice Lewis Powell's retirement, President Ronald Reagan nominates Judge Kennedy to the Supreme Court after the confirmation failures of nominees Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg.
February 18, 1988 - Sworn into office.
Oversees the Ninth Circuit
Born in Sacramento, California; attended Harvard Law School; practiced law privately from 1961-1975; was a professor of at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific from 1963-1975; appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1975; has a wife, Mary Davis, and three children.
June 23, 1948
July 1, 1991 -
Nominated to the Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush
to fill the seat of the retiring Thurgood Marshall.
October 23, 1991 - Sworn into office.
Oversees the Eleventh Circuit.
Born in Pin Point, Georgia, near Savannah; attended Yale Law School; was Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1982-1990; became a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1990; has a wife, Virginia Lamp, and a son from a previous marriage.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
March 15, 1933
June 14, 1993 -
Nominated by President Bill Clinton
August 10, 1993 - Sworn into office.
Oversees the Second Circuit
Born in Brooklyn, New York; attended Harvard and Columbia Law Schools; was a professor at Rutgers University School of Law and Columbia Law School from 1963-1980; served as the ACLU's general counsel from 1973-1980; appointed Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980; has a husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, and two children.
Stephen G. Breyer
August 15, 1938
May 13, 1994 - Nominated by President Bill Clinton.
August 3, 1994 - Sworn into office.
Oversees the First Circuit.
Born in San Francisco; attended Harvard Law School; served as Special Prosecutor and Special Counsel to the Senate during Watergate; professor at Harvard Law School, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government from 1967-1994; served as a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1980-1994; has a wife, Joanna Hare, and three children.
April 1, 1950
October 31, 2005 -
Nominated by President George W. Bush to replace Sandra Day O'Connor
January 31, 2006 - Confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn into office by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Oversees the Third and Eighth Circuits
Born in Trenton, New Jersey; attended Princeton University and Yale University; named as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey in 1987; appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit i n Newark, New Jersey in 1990; has a wife, Martha, and a son, Philip, and a daughter, Laura.
June 25, 1954
May 26, 2009 -
Is nominated by President Barack Obama
to replace Justice David Souter
on the U.S. Supreme Court.
August 8, 2009 - Sworn into office by Chief Justice John Roberts as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.
Oversees the Tenth Circuit.
Born in New York, New York (Bronx); attended Princeton University and Yale University; served as assistant district attorney for New York County in 1979; President George H.W. Bush nominated Sotomayor as associate judge at the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York in 1992; President Bill Clinton nominated Sotomayor to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
April 28, 1960
May 10, 2010 - President Obama nominates Kagan to be a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
August 7, 2010 - Sworn into office by Chief Justice John Roberts as the 112th Supreme Court Justice.
Oversees the Sixth Circuit and the Seventh Circuit.
Born in New York, New York; attended Princeton University, Worcester College at Oxford University and Harvard University; Was editor of the Harvard Law Review; Clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall; Associate Counsel to President Bill Clinton; First female dean of Harvard University Law School; President Obama named Kagan to be U.S. solicitor general.