So You Want to be a Justice?
What it takes to become a member of the highest court
Here's what you need:
- a strong knowledge of the constitution
- in some cases, shared beliefs with the president
- ability to genuinely listen to each side of a case
- a love for justice, because you're appointed for life
The Supreme Court
The President's Decision
The president will choose a candidate who has the above requirements but must also consider the politics associated with his decision. Choosing Sonia Sotomayor is widely accepted (and refuted) because she is Latino. And since the President does not have the ultimate say-so ( the Senate has to have a majority vote) then he must choose an exceptional, unique, but ordinary Justice.
Important Supreme Court Cases
- 1790 - First session
- 1803 - Marbury v. Madison establishes judicial review -- the Supreme Court as the ultimate word on constitutionality.
- 1857 - Dred Scott v. Stanford finds that slaves have no legal rights under the Constitution.
- 1896 - Plessy v. Ferguson finds that "separate but equal" treatment of blacks and whites is constitutional.
- 1954 - Brown v. Board of Education finds that "separate but equal" is not constitutional.
- 1967 - Thurgood Marshall becomes first black justice appointed to the Court.
- 1973 - Roe v. Wade finds that state laws barring abortion are unconstitutional.
- 1974 - United States v. Nixon finds that presidential communications are not inherently protected.
- 1981 - Sandra Day O'Connor becomes first female justice appointed to the Court.
- 1989 - Texas v. Johnson finds that burning the American flag is not a criminal act.
Justice Sotomayor: "Every Day We Live Our Life, We Make a Choice"