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An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is any member of the
Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Americ ...

Supreme Court of the United States
other than the
chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge A chief judge (also known as chief justice The chief justice is the Chief judge, presiding member of a supreme court in any of many countries with a justice system based on English comm ...
. The number of associate justices is eight, as set by the
Judiciary Act of 1869 The Judiciary Act of 1869, sometimes called the Circuit Judges Act of 1869, a United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , ...
. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...

United States Constitution
grants
plenary power A plenary power or plenary authority is a complete and absolute power to take action on a particular issue, with no limitations. It is derived from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the I ...
to the
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...

president
to nominate, and with the
advice and consent Advice and consent is an English phrase frequently used in enacting formulae of bill Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type o ...
(confirmation) of the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
, appoint justices to the Supreme Court. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution effectively grants
life tenure A life tenure or service during good behaviour is a term of office A term of office is the length of time a person serves in a particular elected office. In many jurisdictions there is a defined limit on how long terms of office may be before the o ...
to associate justices, and all other federal judges, which ends only when a justice dies, retires, resigns, or is removed from office by
impeachment Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...
. Each Supreme Court justice 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, the chief justice—when in the majority—decides who writes the court's 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 ($270,700 per year as of 2019, as opposed to $258,900 per year for each associate justice). Associate justices have seniority by order of appointment, although the chief justice is always considered to be the most senior. If two justices are appointed on the same day, the older is designated the senior justice of the two. Currently, the senior associate justice is
Clarence Thomas Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is any member of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme ...
. By tradition, when the justices are in conference deliberating the outcome of cases before the Supreme Court, the justices state their views in order of seniority. The senior associate justice is also tasked with carrying out the chief justice's duties when he is unable to, or if that office is vacant. Historically, associate justices were styled "Mr. Justice" in court opinions and other writings. The title was shortened to "Justice" in 1980, a year before
Sandra Day O'Connor Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American retired attorney and politician who served as the first female associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United State ...

Sandra Day O'Connor
became the first female justice.


Current associate justices

There are currently eight associate justices on the Supreme Court, with the most recent appointment being that of
Amy Coney Barrett Amy Vivian Coney Barrett (born January 28, 1972) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She is the fifth woman to serve on the court. She Amy Coney Barret ...

Amy Coney Barrett
, who was sworn in on October 27, 2020, succeeding
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg ( ; née Bader; March 15, 1933September 18, 2020) was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United St ...

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
. The justices, ordered by seniority, are: File:Clarence Thomas official SCOTUS portrait.jpg,
Clarence Thomas Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is any member of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme ...
,
since October 23, 1991 File:Stephen Breyer, SCOTUS photo portrait.jpg,
Stephen Breyer Stephen Gerald Breyer ( ; born August 15, 1938) is an American lawyer, jurist, and legal scholar who is serving as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...

Stephen Breyer
,
since August 3, 1994 File:010 alito.jpg,
Samuel Alito Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. ( ; born April 1, 1950) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was Samuel Alito Supreme Court nomination, nominated by Presiden ...

Samuel Alito
,
since January 31, 2006 File:Sonia Sotomayor in SCOTUS robe.jpg,
Sonia Sotomayor Sonia Maria Sotomayor (; born June 25, 1954) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination, nominated by Preside ...

Sonia Sotomayor
,
since August 8, 2009 File:Elena Kagan Official SCOTUS Portrait (2013).jpg,
Elena Kagan Elena Kagan (; born April 28, 1960) is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by President Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorn ...
,
since August 7, 2010 File:Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch Official Portrait.jpg,
Neil Gorsuch Neil McGill Gorsuch ( ; born August 29, 1967) is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is any member of the Supreme Court of the United States Th ...
,
since April 10, 2017 File:Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh Official Portrait (full length).jpg,
Brett Kavanaugh Brett Michael Kavanaugh ( ; born February 12, 1965) is an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is any member of the Supreme Court of the United States ...
,
since October 6, 2018 File:Amy Coney Barrett.jpg,
Amy Coney Barrett Amy Vivian Coney Barrett (born January 28, 1972) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She is the fifth woman to serve on the court. She Amy Coney Barret ...

Amy Coney Barrett
,
since October 27, 2020


Retired associate justices

An associate justice who leaves the Supreme Court after attaining the age and meeting the service requirements prescribed by federal statute () may retire rather than resign. After retirement, they keep their title, and by custom may also keep a set of chambers in the Supreme Court building, and employ law clerks. The names of retired associate justices continue to appear alongside those of the active justices in the bound volumes of Supreme Court decisions. Federal statute () provides that retired Supreme Court justices may serve—if designated and assigned by the chief justice—on panels of the U.S. courts of appeals, or on the U.S. district courts. Retired justices are not, however, authorized to take part in the consideration or decision of any cases before the Supreme Court (unlike other retired federal judges who may be permitted to do so in their former courts); neither are they known or designated as a "senior judge". When, after his retirement,
William O. Douglas
William O. Douglas
attempted to take a more active role than was customary, maintaining that it was his prerogative to do so because of his senior status, he was rebuffed by Chief Justice
Warren Burger Warren Earl Burger (September 17, 1907 – June 25, 1995) was the 15th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from 1969 to 1986. Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Burger graduated from the St. Paul College ...
and admonished by the whole Court. There are three living retired associate justices:
Sandra Day O'Connor Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American retired attorney and politician who served as the first female associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United State ...

Sandra Day O'Connor
, retired January 31, 2006;
David Souter David Hackett Souter ( ; born September 17, 1939) is a retired associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States An associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is any member of the Supreme Court of the United State ...
, retired June 29, 2009; and
Anthony Kennedy Anthony McLeod Kennedy (born July 23, 1936) is a retired American lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the Supreme court, highe ...
, retired July 31, 2018. Souter occasionally serves on panels of the Courts of Appeals of various circuits. O'Connor did as well for several years following her retirement, but no longer does. Kennedy has not performed any judicial duties since retiring.


List of associate justices

Since the Supreme Court was established in 1789, the following 103 persons have served as an associate justice:


Notes


References


Further reading

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External links


Historic Supreme Court Decisionsby Justice
Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School
Supreme Court of the United States
(website home page) {{DEFAULTSORT:Associate Justice Of The Supreme Court Of The United States Supreme Court of the United States people United States federal judges Legal professions