Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are the members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States. The number of Associate Justices is determined by the United States Congress and is currently set at eight by the Judiciary Act of 1869. Associate Justices are nominated for service by the President of the United States. Their nominations are then referred to the United States Senate for confirmation. If confirmed, the U.S. Constitution states that all justices of the Court "shall hold their offices during good behaviour." This language means that the appointments are effectively for life, ending when a Justice dies in office, retires, or is impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate. [ Recess appointments are a notable exception. "See U.S. v. Woodley" 751 F.2d 1008, 10014; Recess Appointment of John Rutledge. Recess appointments to the Supreme Court have generally been rare; only two Chief Justices and six Associate Justices have received recess appointments, and only Rutledge was not subsequently confirmed by the Senate. The last president to make a recess appointment to the Supreme Court was Dwight Eisenhower.]

Each of the Justices of the Supreme Court has a single vote in deciding the cases argued before it; the Chief Justice's vote counts no more than that of any other Justice. However, in drafting opinions, the Chief Justice enjoys additional influence in case disposition if in the majority through his power to assign who writes the opinion. Otherwise, the senior justice in the majority assigns the writing of a decision. Furthermore, the Chief Justice leads the discussion of the case among the justices. The Chief Justice has certain administrative responsibilities that the other Justices do not, and is paid slightly more ($212,100 vs. $203,000 as of 2007 [cite web|url= |title=salaries | |date= |accessdate=2008-09-06] ).

Associate justices have seniority by order of appointment, although the Chief Justice is always considered the most senior. If two justices are appointed on the same day, the older is designated the senior justice of the two. The senior associate justice is now John Paul Stevens. By tradition, when the Justices are in conference deliberating the outcome of cases before the Court, the justices state their views in order of seniority. If there is a knock at the conference room door, the junior justice (who sits closest to the door) must answer it.

The current associate justices are (in order of seniority): John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Hackett Souter, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Samuel Alito.

Retired Associate Justices

Contrary to popular belief, a Justice who steps down from the Court continues to be a member of it. When a Justice retires he or she usually goes into senior status, which means that the Justice keeps his or her title, and may serve by assignment on panels of the U.S. courts of appeals (as Lewis F. Powell, Jr. did for several years). Retired Justices may elect to keep a chamber in the Supreme Court building as well as maintain law clerks. The names of Retired Associate Justices continues to appear alongside the other active members on the Bound Volumes of Supreme Court decisions. However, Retired Associate Justices take no part in the consideration or decision of any cases before the Court.

Currently, the only Retired Associate Justice is Sandra Day O'Connor, who assumed senior status on January 31, 2006.

ee also

*Associate Justice
*Chief Justice of the United States
*List of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States
*List of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States by court composition
*List of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States by seat


External links

* [ Historic collection of Supreme Court decisions and biographies] indexed by judge name
* [ Members of the Supreme Court of the United States] from the Court's website.

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