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The Supreme Court of the United States

United States Supreme Court Building, One First Street NE., Washington, DC 20543




Associate JusticeClarence Thomas
Associate JusticeSamuel A. Alito, Jr.
Associate JusticeSonia M. Sotomayor
Associate JusticeElena Kagan
Associate JusticeNeil M. Gorsuch
Associate JusticeBrett M. Kavanaugh
Associate JusticeAmy C. Barrett
Associate JusticeKetanji B. Jackson



ClerkScott S. Harris
Court CounselEthan V. Torrey
CuratorCatherine E. Fitts
Director of Information TechnologyCharles W. Gerald
LibrarianLinda S. Maslow
MarshalGail Curley
Public Information OfficerPatricia McCabe
Reporter of DecisionsRebecca A. Womeldorf

Article III, section 1, of the Constitution of the United States provides that "[t]he judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish."

The Supreme Court of the United States was created on the basis of this constitutional provision and by authority of the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789 (1 Stat. 73), which President George Washington approved. The Supreme Court was organized on February 2, 1790.

Article III, section 2, of the Constitution defines the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court comprises the Chief Justice of the United States and such number of Associate Justices as may be fixed by Congress (28 U.S.C. 1). Currently, the total number of Associate Justices has been fixed at eight. Six Justices are needed for a quorum. If more than three of the nine Justices are unable to participate in a case, the Supreme Court lacks the authority to render a decision.

The President nominates the Justices with the advice and consent of the Senate. Article III, section 1, of the Constitution further provides that "[t]he Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office."

In the performance of its functions, the Court is assisted by nine court officers: the Clerk, the Counselor to the Chief Justice, the Court Counsel, the Curator, the Director of Information Technology, the Librarian, the Marshal, the Public Information Officer, and the Reporter of Decisions.

Appellate Jurisdiction

The Constitution has given authority to the Congress to pass statutes that confer appellate jurisdiction upon the Supreme Court. The basic statute that is effective at this time, in conferring and controlling jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, may be found in 28 U.S.C. 1251, 1253, 1254, 1257-1259, and various special statutes. Congress has no authority to change the original jurisdiction of this Court.

Court Term

The term of the Court begins on the first Monday in October and lasts until the first Monday in October of the next year. Over the course of a term, approximately 10,000 petitions are filed for cases to be briefed before the Court. Moreover, each year, about 1,200 applications, which can be acted upon by a single Justice while serving in the capacity of a Circuit Justice, are filed.


From time to time, Congress has conferred upon the Supreme Court power to prescribe rules of procedure to be followed by the lower courts of the United States.

Sources of Information

Archived Records

The "Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States" indicates that records belonging to the Supreme Court of the United States have been assigned to record group 267.

Art Collections

The Supreme Court has been acquiring artwork since the 1830s. Today, it continues to add to its three collections of decorative art, fine art, and graphic art. These collections include antique furniture, busts, engravings, historic furnishings, lithographs, miniatures, photographs, and portraits.

Audio Recordings

Recordings of oral arguments become publicly accessible at the end of each argument week. A listener has the option to download the audio files or to hear the arguments on the Supreme Court’s website. Recordings are listed by case name, docket number, and the date of oral argument.

Calendars / Lists

Supreme Court calendars and argument calendars, as well as day call and hearing lists, are posted in Portable Document Format (PDF) for viewing and downloading.

Career Opportunities

The Supreme Court posts vacancy announcements. It also has programs for docents, fellows, and interns.

Chief and Associate Justices

A Chief Justices list and Associate Justices list are available on the "Justices 1789 to Present" web page. The lists include all of the Justices who have served on the Supreme Court.

A timeline of Chief and Associate Justices is also available.

Constitutional Interpretation

See the cornerstone address of Chief Justice Charles E. Hughes: "The Republic Endures and This Is the Symbol of Its Faith."

Contact Information

General contact information is available on the "Contact Us" web page. The Public Information Office receives general questions that are not time sensitive. | Email:

Docket Search

The online docket database contains information on the status of cases filed since the beginning of the 2001 Term.

The engrossed dockets from 1791 to 1995 have been scanned by the National Archives from its microfilm collection and are available in its catalog.


The Office of the Curator creates exhibitions to highlight the work and history of the Nation's highest court, the lives of individual Justices, and the architecture of the Supreme Court building. Exhibitions are self-guided and located on the ground floor of the building.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Supreme Court posts answers to FAQs online.

The Public Information Office has answered questions that reporters often ask in its "Reporter’s Guide to Applications Pending Before The Supreme Court of the United States." | Email:

Gift Shop

The Supreme Court Historical Society Gift Shop is accessible online and located on the ground floor of the Supreme Court building. Merchandise ranges from books, folders, statues, and woven throws to jewelry, learning games, scarves, ties, and writing instruments. The shop is open Monday–Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4:25 p.m., excluding Federal Holidays. Phone, 888-539-4438. | Email:

Granted and Noted Cases List

Annual lists are posted in Portable Document Format (PDF) for viewing and downloading. The earliest of the lists starts with the October term of 2007.


CIRCUIT RIDING—For most of its existence, circuit riding was an unpopular hold-over from the early days of the Republic. Accordingly, the history of circuit riding could be described as the "history to abolish circuit riding." Given circuit riding's practical shortcomings, one marvels at the longevity of the practice, that it lasted for as long as it did. To learn more, see Joshua Glick's Cardozo Law Review article "On the Road: The Supreme Court and the History of Circuit Riding" (APR 2003).

19TH CENTURY DECISIONS AND ARGUMENTS—The dates of Supreme Court decisions and arguments from 1791 through 1882 ("United States Reports," vols. 2–107) were compiled by the staff of the Anne Ashmore Library. The compilation of dates is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF) for viewing and downloading.

THE SUPREME COURT HISTORICAL SOCIETY—This private nonprofit organization, collects and preserves the history of the Supreme Court. Incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1974, its founder Chief Justice Warren E. Burger served as the first honorary chairman. The Society is headquartered in the Opperman House in Washington, DC, where it maintains The Goldman Library. The books housed therein comprise one of the finest collections of Court histories, Justices' writings, and judicial biographies. The library also has materials relating to U.S. attorneys general, solicitors, and Presidents.

Indigent Petitioners

The “Guide for Filing In Forma Pauperis Cases" assists litigants who may lack the financial resources to pay the filing fee or to submit booklet-format documents under Court Rule 33.1.

Landmark Cases

The "United States Courts" website has a web page that is dedicated to "Supreme Court Landmarks." The page presents information on 22 landmark cases.

ROE ET AL. V. WADE DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF DALLAS COUNTY (410 U.S. 113)—The syllabus to this landmark case and the opinion of the Court are available on the Library of Congress website. The 66-page document was posted in Portable Document Format (PDF) for viewing and downloading.


The Supreme Court's website has links to other Internet sources of information on the Federal Government, the Judiciary, and the Supreme Court.

Minutes of the Court

The "Journal of the Supreme Court" contains the official minutes. It reflects the disposition of each case, identifies the court whose judgment is under review, lists the cases argued that day and the attorneys who presented oral argument, contains miscellaneous announcements by the Chief Justice from the bench, and names the attorneys who have been admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court.

Press Releases

Press releases are posted online.

Reports on the Federal Judiciary

"Year-End Reports on the Federal Judiciary," which the current and former Chief Justices have prepared, are posted on the Supreme Court's website. Starting with the year 2000, most of the reports are available in Portable Document Format (PDF) for viewing and downloading.

Search Tips

Use the search tips to refine a search and find more specific results on the Supreme Court's website.

Seating To Hear Oral Arguments

All oral arguments are open to the public. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-seated, basis. Before a session begins, two lines form on the plaza in front of the building. One line is for those attending an entire argument; the other, a 3-minute line, is for those observing the Court in session for a brief period of time.

Site Map

The site map allows visitors to look for specific information or to browse content that aligns with their interests.

Slip Opinions

Slip opinions are posted within minutes after the Justices issue their opinions. They remain posted until the opinions for the entire term are published in the bound volumes of the "United States Reports." A slip opinion comprises the majority or principal opinion, concurring or dissenting opinions, and a prefatory syllabus summarizing the decision.


Speeches of current and former Supreme Court Justices are available online.

United States Reports

The "United States Reports" contain the official opinions of the Supreme Court. The reports are available online, being accessible on the Library of Congress website. They also are accessible, indirectly, through the website, which the Government Publishing Office manages.



Visiting the Court

The Supreme Court building is open to the public Monday–Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, excluding Federal holidays.

Maps and brochures are available online. The visitors' guide and map are available in translation: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.