Supreme Court Justice Definition

Learn about the definition, duties, and significance of Supreme Court justices in the U.S. legal system. Explore landmark cases, statistics, and the role of justices in shaping laws and rights.


Supreme Court justices are individuals appointed to the highest court in the United States, responsible for interpreting the Constitution and ensuring the fair application of laws. Let’s delve into the definition, duties, and significance of a Supreme Court justice.

What is a Supreme Court Justice?

A Supreme Court justice is a member of the Supreme Court of the United States, which is the highest federal court in the country. Justices are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Court consists of nine justices, including the Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices.

Duties of a Supreme Court Justice

  • Interpreting the Constitution: Supreme Court justices have the crucial role of interpreting the Constitution to determine the legality of laws and government actions.

  • Hearing Cases: Justices review cases brought before the Court, listen to oral arguments, deliberate with colleagues, and render decisions.

  • Writing Opinions: Justices write opinions explaining their reasoning for a decision, which can influence future legal interpretations.

Significance of Supreme Court Justices

Supreme Court justices hold immense power in shaping legal precedents, protecting individual rights, and maintaining the balance of powers among the branches of government. Their decisions can have far-reaching implications for society.

Examples of Landmark Cases

Some notable cases decided by Supreme Court justices include:

  • Brown v. Board of Education (1954): This case ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, leading to the desegregation of schools across the country.

  • Roe v. Wade (1973): A landmark decision legalizing abortion in the United States, based on the right to privacy.

  • Citizens United v. FEC (2010): This case allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections, impacting campaign finance law.

Statistics on Supreme Court Justices

As of 2021, the current composition of the Supreme Court includes six male and three female justices. The average age of a Supreme Court justice at appointment is around 53 years. Justices serve life tenure, meaning they hold their positions until they retire, resign, or pass away.


Supreme Court justices play a vital role in upholding the rule of law and safeguarding the principles of justice in the United States. Their decisions shape the legal landscape and impact the lives of citizens for generations to come.

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