Seven Facts You Should Know About The US Supreme Court

Nov 13, 2021 | US Supreme Court

Do you want to know some interesting facts about the US Supreme Court? Look no more! Here we provide you a list of seven unknown facts.

1. The Court functioned only by 1935.

Before the Civil War, the Court was housed in different places from 1861. In 1935 was finally housed in the Old Senate Chamber. The Justices had food in the robing room since the chamber was cramped. In the 1920s, Chief Justice William Howard Taft led the charge for a new Supreme Court facility.

Taft

2. Taft was the only president to become a justice

Taft died even before the new Supreme Court building was constructed, making him the first president to become a Justice. However, in the presidential election of 1916, Charles Evans Hughes came dangerously near to toppling Woodrow Wilson. Hughes withdrew from the Court to run against Wilson, and he eventually returned as Chief Justice, replacing Taft, in the 1930s.

3. Seventeen chief justices were equal to 17 “Courts.”

Supreme Court historians use the chief justice who presided over the Court’s sessions to identify eras in the Court’s history. The Jay Court was the first to be established, while the Roberts Court is the 17th. From 1801 to 1835, the Marshall Court was in session for 34 years. When Chief Justice Roberts took the oath in 2005, he was 50 years old, while Chief Justice Marshall was 45.

4. Two justices taking oath on the same day

During a special sitting of the Court on January 7, 1972, Lewis F. Powell Jr. and William H. Rehnquist were sworn in. Seniority is defined by age when two justices join the Court on the same day.

5. Eight future Supreme Court justices who were clerks

One does not need formal requirements to become a Supreme Court justice. Eight Supreme Court justices were clerks before taking up the position. All of the clerks were: Byron R. White, William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Stephen G. Breyer, John G. Roberts, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.

five associate justices

6. The number of judges was never fixed.

The number was set at six by the Judiciary Act of 1789, with a chief justice and five associate justices. Congress increased the number of judges in 1807 to seven, Congress increased the number of judges to seven; in 1837, it was expanded to nine; and in 1863, it was increased to ten. The Judicial Circuits Act, passed in 1866, reduced justices to seven and banned President Andrew Johnson from nominating anyone new to the Court. Congress increased the number of judges to nine three years later, in 1869, and it has been that way ever since.

7. Though Justices are appointed for life yet, they can be impeached.

Associate Justice William O. Douglas served on the Supreme Court for over 36 years, the longest tenure of any justice in its history. Following Steven Johnson Field, Douglas’ successor, John Paul Stevens, was the third-longest-serving justice. Despite being appointed for life, moreover, half of them have elected to retire or quit. Only one justice has ever been impeached till now, and that was Samuel Chase in 1804. He was impeached by the United States House of Representatives. However, he was acquitted by the United States Senate, and remained on the bench until he died in 1811.