The United States Supreme Court is the highest court in America. The court is made up of one chief justice and eight associate judges. There have been 17 chief justices in the court’s history including John Jay, John Marshall, and William H. Taft. All Supreme Court Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Justices of the Supreme Court generally serve life tenures. Thousands of cases are sent to the Supreme Court each year, but only 80-100 are heard. Selected cases are those that challenge the meanings of parts of the U.S. Constitution.
The United States Supreme Court usually serves as an appellate court, which means it hears appeals from lower courts. It has heard many landmark cases including Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954), which made segregation in America’s schools illegal. In rare instances, cases originate in the Supreme Court such as when two states have a dispute with each other, or when the United States government has a dispute with a state.
First Chief Justice John Jay
Learn about some of the most famous decisions of the Supreme Court