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The Judicial Branch of Government

The Constitution defines our national government as being comprised of 3 branches (parts) - each with its own powers to provide checks and balances on the others. These branches are...

o Judicial (Supreme Court)
o Legislative (Congress)
o Executive (President)

The Supreme Court is the final authority on whether a law violates the Constitution. The court does not actively seek laws to judge. Rather, it decides cases that are brought to it by challenges to a law ruled on by a lower court.

Justices are appointed by the president (Senate approval is required), and have lifetime terms.

For more, visit the Supreme Court website.

Current Supreme Court

Justice Service Appointed By Note
Brett Kavanaugh 2018- Donald Trump
Neil Gorsuch 2017- Donald Trump
Elena Kagan 2010- Barack Obama
Sonia Sotomayor 2009- Barack Obama
Samuel Alito 2006- George W. Bush
John G. Roberts 2005- George W. Bush Chief Justice
Stephen Breyer 1994- William J. Clinton
Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1993- William J. Clinton
Clarence Thomas 1991- George H.W. Bush

Previous Justices

David Souter 1990-2009 George H.W. Bush
Anthony Kennedy 1988-2018 Ronald Reagan
Antonin Scalia 1986-2016 Ronald Reagan
Sandra Day O'Connor 1981-2006 Ronald Reagan
John Paul Stevens 1975-2010 Jimmy Carter
William Rehnquist 1972-2005 Richard M. Nixon Chief Justice
Lewis F. Powell, Jr. 1972-1987 Richard M. Nixon
Harry Blackmun 1970-1994 Richard M. Nixon
Warren E. Burger 1969-1986 Richard M. Nixon Chief Justice
Thurgood Marshall 1967-1991 Lyndon Johnson
Abe Fortas 1965-1969 Lyndon Johnson
Arthur Goldberg 1962-1965 John F. Kennedy
Byron White 1962-1993 John F. Kennedy
Potter Stewart 1958-1981 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Charles Evans Whittaker 1957-1962 Dwight D. Eisenhower
William J. Brennan, Jr. 1956-1990 Dwight D. Eisenhower
John Marshall Harlan II 1955-1971 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Earl Warren 1953-1969 Dwight D. Eisenhower Chief Justice
Sherman Minton 1949-1956 Harry S. Truman
Tom C. Clark 1949-1967 Harry S. Truman
Fred M. Vinson 1946-1953 Harry S. Truman Chief Justice
Harold Hitz Burton 1945-1958 Harry S. Truman
Wiley Blount Rutledge 1943-1949 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Robert H. Jackson 1941-1954 Franklin D. Roosevelt
James F. Byrnes 1941-1942 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Frank Murphy 1940-1949 Franklin D. Roosevelt
William O. Douglas 1939-1975 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Felix Frankfurter 1939-1962 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Stanley Forman Reed 1938-1957 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hugo Black 1937-1971 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Benjamin N. Cardozo 1932-1938 Herbert Hoover
Owen Roberts 1930-1945 Herbert Hoover
Harlan Fiske Stone 1925-1946 Calvin Coolidge Chief Justice
Edward Terry Sanford 1923-1930 Warren G. Harding
Pierce Butler 1923-1939 Warren G. Harding
George Sutherland 1922-1938 Warren G. Harding
William Howard Taft 1921-1930 Warren G. Harding Chief Justice
John Hessin Clarke 1916-1922 Woodrow Wilson
Louis Brandeis 1916-1939 Woodrow Wilson
James Clark McReynolds 1914-1941 Woodrow Wilson
Mahlon Pitney 1912-1922 William Howard Taft
Joseph Rucker Lamar 1911-1916 William Howard Taft
Willis Van Devanter 1911-1937 William Howard Taft
Charles Evans Hughes 1910-1941 William Howard Taft Chief Justice
Horace Harmon Lurton 1910-1914 William Howard Taft
William Henry Moody 1906-1910 Theodore Roosevelt
William R. Day 1903-1922 Theodore Roosevelt
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 1902-1932 Theodore Roosevelt
Joseph McKenna 1898-1925 William McKinley
Rufus Wheeler Peckham 1896-1909 Grover Cleveland
Edward Douglas White 1894-1921 Grover Cleveland Chief Justice
Howell Edmunds Jackson 1893-1895 Benjamin Harrison
George Shiras, Jr. 1892-1903 Benjamin Harrison
Henry Billings Brown 1891-1906 Benjamin Harrison
David Josiah Brewer 1890-1910 Benjamin Harrison
Melville Fuller 1888-1910 Grover Cleveland Chief Justice
Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar II 1888-1893 Grover Cleveland
Samuel Blatchford 1820-1893 Chester A. Arthur
Horace Gray 1882-1902 Chester A. Arthur
Stanley Matthews 1881-1889 James Garfield
William Burnham Woods 1881-1887 Rutherford B. Hayes
John Marshall Harlan 1877-1911 Rutherford B. Hayes
Morrison Waite 1874-1888 Ulysses S. Grant Chief Justice
Ward Hunt 1873-1882 Ulysses S. Grant
Joseph P. Bradley 1870-1892 Ulysses S. Grant
William Strong 1870-1880 Ulysses S. Grant
Salmon P. Chase 1864-1873 Abraham Lincoln Chief Justice
Stephen Johnson Field 1863-1897 Abraham Lincoln
David Davis 1862-1877 Abraham Lincoln
Samuel Freeman Miller 1862-1890 Abraham Lincoln
Noah Haynes Swayne 1862-1881 Abraham Lincoln
Nathan Clifford 1858-1881 James Buchanan
John Archibald Campbell 1853-1861 Franklin Pierce
Benjamin Robbins Curtis 1851-1857 Millard Fillmore
Robert Cooper Grier 1846-1870 James K. Polk
Levi Woodbury 1845-1851 James K. Polk
Samuel Nelson 1845-1872 John Tyler
Peter Vivian Daniel 1842-1860 Martin Van Buren
John McKinley 1837-1852 Martin Van Buren
John Catron 1837-1865 Andrew Jackson
Philip Pendleton Barbout 1836-1841 Andrew Jackson
Roger B. Taney 1836-1864 Andrew Jackson Chief Justice
James Moore Wayne 1835-1867 Andrew Jackson
Henry Baldwin 1830-1844 Andrew Jackson
John McLean 1830-1861 Andrew Jackson
Robert Trimble 1826-1828 John Quincy Adams
Smith Thompson 1823-1843 James Monroe
Joseph Story 1812-1845 James Madison
Gabriel Duvall 1811-1835 James Madison
Thomas Todd 1807-1826 Thomas Jefferson
Henry Brockholst Livingston 1807-1823 Thomas Jefferson
William Johnson 1804-1834 Thomas Jefferson
John Marshall 1801-1835 John Adams Chief Justice
Alfred Moore 1800-1804 John Adams
Bushrod Washington 1789-1829 John Adams
Oliver Ellsworth 1796-1800 George Washington Chief Justice
Samuel Chase 1796-1811 George Washington
William Patterson 1793-1806 George Washington
Thomas Johnson 1792-1793 George Washington
James Iredell 1790-1799 George Washington
John Rutledge 1789-1791 George Washington Chief Justice
John Blair, Jr. 1789-1795 George Washington
William Cushing 1789-1810 George Washington
John Jay 1789-1795 George Washington Chief Justice
James Wilson 1789-1798 George Washington