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How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

As the country reacts to the Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade, Fox News takes a look at some of the individuals who make up the highest court in the United States.

Earlier this year, a leaked draft opinion was given to Politico indicating the Court planned to overturn Roe. v. Wade, which initially made abortion a federal right. The Court’s long-awaited decision for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization came in June, causing widespread protests across the country. The case itself involved a legal dispute over Mississippi’s new law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

The Judiciary Acts of 1789 and 1869 set the procedure and makeup of the Supreme Court. The Court has a chief justice accompanied by eight associate justices. To become a justice, an individual must be nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate with a simple majority. A justice may serve on the Supreme Court until they die, resign, or are removed from office through impeachment.


Each of the nine justices has a single vote when ruling on a case. Every case is argued before the justices at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. 

Who is the chief justice of the Supreme Court?

The chief justice of the Supreme Court is currently John Roberts, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2005. Roberts was originally nominated to fulfill the vacant left retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; however, Chief Justice William Rehnquist died before Roberts’ confirmation hearing in the Senate had started. Bush instead decided to nominate Roberts for chief justice and replaced O’Connor’s position with Justice Samuel Alito. 

John Roberts became the chief justice after being appointed by Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2005. 


Roberts tends to side with the conservative majority on the Court but has worked with the liberal bloc on multiple occasions. Before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Roberts was considered an important swing vote on the Court until the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.  

Who was the first female justice on the Supreme Court?

The first female appointed to the Supreme Court was Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 following Justice Potter Stewart’s retirement the same year. O’Connor served on the court for almost 25 years and was considered ideologically moderate. She authored more than 300 Opinions of the Court and over 600 opinions until her retirement in 2005. 

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the first female appointed to the Supreme Court in 1981. 


Since O’Connor’s appointment, four other women have sat on the Supreme Court bench with three of the nine current Court’s justices being female. The other female justices include Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett. 

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