The Court System


What does the U.S. Constitution say about the U.S. Supreme Court?

Article III, Section I of the Constitution provides: “The 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.” In another part of the Constitution, it refers to a “Chief Justice” of the Court, as the person who shall preside over impeachment proceedings of the president. Article I, Section III—the part of Article I that describes the powers of the Senate—provides: “When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.”

The Chief Justices in U.S. Supreme Court History

Chief Justice Years as Chief
John Jay 1789–1795
John Rutledge 1795
Oliver Ellsworth 1796–1800
John Marshall 1801–1835
Roger Taney 1836–1864
Salmon P. Chase 1864–1873
Morrison Waite 1874–1888
Melville W. Fuller 1888–1910
Edward White 1910–1921
William Howard Taft 1921–1930
Charles Evans Hughes 1930–1941
Harlan Fiske Stone 1941–1946
Fred Vinson 1946–1953
Earl Warren 1953–1969
Warren Burger 1969–1986
William Rehnquist 1986–2005
John G. Roberts Jr. 2005–


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