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The Supreme Court is the Nation’s highest court.  Eight Associate Justices and one Chief Justice comprise the membership of the Court.  Article Two of the United States Constitution gives the President power to appoint Justices “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”   Supreme Court Justices serve lifetime appointments serving “during good Behavior”. The term “good behavior” means that Justices may serve for the remainder of their lives, although they can voluntarily resign or retire. Justices are also removed from office only through Congressional impeachment and conviction.   The Constitution also provides that the pay of federal judges “shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”   Article III of the Constitution gives Congress the power to fix the number of justices.   When the Senate is in recess, the President may make a temporary appointment without the Senate’s advice and consent.  Such a recess appointee to the Supreme Court holds office only until the end of the next Senate session.  When the Chief Justice is unable to discharge his functions, or that office is vacant, his duties are carried out by the most senior associate justice until the disability or vacancy ends.

Article I, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states that the Chief Justice shall preside over impeachment trials of the President of the United States in the U.S. Senate.

The main duties of the chief justices are

  • Serves as the head of the judiciary.
  • Serves as the head of the judicial conference of the United States, the chief administrative body of the United States.
  • Appoints sitting federal judges to the membership of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
  • Appoints the members of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, a special tribunal of seven sitting federal judges responsible for selecting the venue for coordinated pretrial proceedings in situations where multiple related federal actions have been filed in different judicial districts.
  • Serves ex officio as a member of the Board of Regents,
  • Supervises the acquisition of books for the law department and library of congress

Inside Justices