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Chief Justice of the United States

The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the Judicial Branch of the government of the United States, and presides over the Supreme Court of the United States. The office is often, and incorrectly, referred to as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is composed of nine members, though that number has varied over the years, headed by the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice, like all the other justices, is nominated by the President and confirmed to sit on the court by the U.S. Senate. Some justices, like William H. Rehnquist, were elevated to the highest post on the court by the President after having served previously on the bench as associate justice. Others, like William Howard Taft, were nominated to the highest bench without any previous experience on the court.


In addition to the duties of the Associate Justices, the Chief Justice has the following duties:

Chief Justices

No. Chief Justice Years of Service Appointed by President
1John Jay1789-1795George Washington
2John Rutledge1795George Washington
3Oliver Ellsworth[?]1796-1800George Washington
4John Marshall1801-1835John Adams
5Roger Taney1836-1864Andrew Jackson
6Salmon P. Chase1864-1873Abraham Lincoln
7Morrison Waite[?]1874-1888Ulysses S. Grant
8Melville Fuller[?]1888-1910Grover Cleveland
9Edward Douglass White[?]1910-1921William Howard Taft
10William Howard Taft1921-1930Warren G. Harding
11Charles Evans Hughes1930-1941Herbert Hoover
12Harlan Stone[?]1941-1946Franklin Delano Roosevelt
13Fred Vinson[?]1946-1953Harry S. Truman
14Earl Warren1953-1969Dwight D. Eisenhower
15Warren E. Burger[?]1969-1986Richard Nixon
16William Rehnquist1986-presentRonald Reagan
Denotes elevation from associate justice.

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