Who Can Be a Supreme Court Judge and How Do They Get There

Who Can Be a Supreme Court Judge and How Do They Get There

(RepublicanPress.com) – Supreme Court justices are arguably the most powerful people in the US. Sure, they don’t make foreign policy or meet with world leaders, but those nine judges ultimately control the direction America is going. Their rulings decide whether or not laws are constitutional and they’ve even had their hand in presidential races.

So, what kind of qualifications do people need to have to become a Supreme Court justice? The answer may surprise you.

What Does the Constitution Say?

The Constitution actually doesn’t say a whole lot about the Supreme Court. The Founding Fathers established it in Article III Section 1:

“The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts…” 

Article III Section 2 of the Constitution makes clear the duties of the court, but that’s it. The document doesn’t say anything about what qualifications a person has to have to sit on the court. In fact, the authors didn’t even outline how many justices should sit on the bench.

The Judiciary Act of 1869 actually established the number of justices on the court.

Qualifications for SCOTUS Justices

As we mentioned, the Constitution doesn’t explicitly state any qualifications for Supreme Court justices. It doesn’t even say the men and women who serve on the court have to have a law degree.

A president can nominate whomever he wants regardless of age, education, and profession. Supreme Court Justice James F. Byrnes (1941-1942) didn’t even go to law school. He taught himself, and then passed the bar exam when he was 23 years old. He resigned from the court after only serving for 15 months to pursue a different career.

Although the Constitution doesn’t say the justices must have a law degree, every judge to sit on the high court has practiced the law. These days, it’s expected they have one. However, nearly 250 years after the founding of our country, a president can still choose whoever he sees fit to occupy one of those powerful positions.

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