As President Trump prepares to announce his pick to fill the vacancy at the Supreme Court, here are 10 fun facts about the nation’s highest court.
1. No qualifications necessary
While Supreme Court justices have normally served as judges or lawyers, there are no formal requirements to sit on the court laid out in the Constitution. Additionally it isn’t necessary to be born in the U.S. The Supreme Court has had justices born in Scotland, England, Ireland and Turkey.
Most recently Justice Felix Frankfurter, who served on the court from 1939-1962, was born in Vienna, Austria.
2. No set home
While the Supreme Court is now a major tourist site, the court did not always sit in the building. Before the Civil War, it used various locations to thrash out some of the most important legal battles in the country’s history. It only got its own building in 1935.
3. Youngest justice
One of the candidates believed to be on President Trump’s shortlist is Allison Rushing who, at 38, would be the youngest justice on the court. But that still wouldn't make her youngest justice to serve. That would be Joseph Story, who was just 32 when he took his seat in 1812.
4. Oldest Justice
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was 87 when she died last week. But she was a few years short of being the oldest person to serve on the court. That accolade goes to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. -- who was 90 when he retired in 1932.
5. Yale and Harvard dominate
In recent years, Harvard has dominated when it comes to the colleges from where the justices studied. But with Brett Kavanaugh (a Yale graduate) coming to the court in 2018, it became a tie between the two Ivy Leagues
Harvard graduates: John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (and Columbia), Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan
Yale graduates: Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor
Amy Coney Barrett, believed to be the frontrunner for the current vacancy, was educated at Notre Dame, and would bring some degree of college diversity to the panel.
4. No appointment for Carter
President Jimmy Carter, who served one term (1977-1981), is the only president to serve a full term in office to not appoint a Supreme Court justice. Meanwhile, President Trump could appoint three justices in his first term in office.
5. A single Protestant
Justice Neil Gorsuch is the only Protestant on the court. There are five Catholics and two Jews currently on the court after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is Jewish.
6. 'Highest court in the land'
There’s a basketball court on the top floor of the Supreme Court building. It’s known as the “the highest court in the land.”
7. Who served the longest?
The accolade for longest-serving justice was Justice William Douglas (1939-1975) who served for 36 years, seven months and eight days. For context, he was appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but his successor was appointed by President Gerald Ford.
8. A president has also served as a Supreme Court justice
It’s possible to serve as president of the United States and as a Supreme Court Justice.
President William Taft is the only person to have served as both president, leading from the White House from 1909 to 1913, and later as chief justice, from 1921-1930. So, a Justice Barack Obama is not necessarily out of the question.
9. Shortest name
The justice with the shortest name was also the first-ever appointed to the court: John Jay.
10. Two justices have had the same name
There are two justices who share the same name, although reporters would have been thankful they did not serve on the high court at the same time.
Justice John Marshall Harlan served on the court from 1877 to 1911, while his grandson, also named John Marshall Harlan, served from 1955 to 1971.