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How Many Justices Are on the Supreme Court

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How Many Justices Are on the Supreme Court

How Many Justices Are on the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest Federal Court in the United States, established all the way back in 1789. Being the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court more often than not hears appeals on decisions from lower courts, and their decisions have lasting effects on U.S. policy.

Of course, as important as the Supreme Court is, one of the major questions must be how many Justices sit on the court. Currently there are nine Justices that serve on the United States Supreme Court (an odd number is used so that a tie can’t happen on decisions). What you might not know, however, is that the number of Justices hasn’t always been set at nine. When the court was established, the Judiciary Act of 1789 set its number at six, allowing for a Chief Justice and five associate Justices. Over the years this number has fluctuated, going up to nine in 1837, and then to 10 in 1863. This was a tumultuous time for the court as in 1866 the Judicial Circuits Act shrunk it back down to seven. Three years later in 1869 the number was raised back to nine, where it’s sat since.

Justices may hold their offices for life, based on good behavior. This means that outside of being impeached, convicted by congress, resigning, or retiring, they will hold their office for a long time.

There’s plenty more to see about the Supreme Court over on sites like History.com.

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