INFORMATION REGARDING THE CHIEF JUSTICE AND THE U.S. SUPREME COURT IN GENERAL Duties of the Chief Justice 1. Presides over Presidential impeachment trials in the Senate. This is a Constitutionally mandated role for the Chief Justice, outlined in Section 3 Article 1. 2. There was some discussion in the Constitutional Convention to have the Chief Justice become a member of the Cabinet, to Chair the Cabinet in the absence of the President,, and to succeed an impeached President, but these ideas were all defeated. Early on, the Chief Justice was the official inspector of the mints and had a role in monitoring the national debt. By 1834, however, the Secretary of the Treasury assumed these duties. 3. Swear in the President and other officials as requested, The Chief Justice does not have to swear in the President however. In emergency situations, others can and have sworn in Presidents: a. Johnson, sworn in by Sarah T. Hughes, U.S. Judge, Texas; b. Coolidge, sworn in by his son John C. Coolidge, a Justice of the Peace; c. Theodore Roosevelt, sworn in by John R. Hazel, U.S. Judge, New York; and d. Washington, Tyler, Fillmore and Arthur also sworn in by others, due to death of the President in every case, except Washington; there was no obviously no Chief Justice to swear him in after his first election; at his re-election inaugural, John Jay (the first Chief Justice) was in England as our Ambassador, so William Cushing, an Associate Judge on the Supreme Court did the honors. 4. Swear in attorneys to practice before the Supreme Court, As of 1998, there were some 227,500 persons licensed to practice law before the Supreme Court. 5. Chairman of the Board, Smithsonian Institute. 6. Chairman of the Board, National Art Gallery. 7. Heads Presidential Commissions as called by the President (ie. the Warren Commission that looked into the Kennedy assassination). 8. Ceremonial role, leads the "brethren" into the House to hear the State of the Union speech; leads the "brethren" into the capital for formal funeral processions, greets foreign dignitaries. 9. Chief of Police, over the 100 plus Supreme Court Police Force. 10. Head Librarian, in charge of the Supreme Court Library. ll. Curator, Supreme Court Museum. 12. Personnel Manager, oversees the hiring and firing of all Supreme Court staff. 13. Office Manager, oversees the activities of his staff including the secretaries as well as the law clerks. 14. Numerous executive details related to general court management: a. Sets the date and time that the Court will meet; Burger wanted to start at 10:00 a.m., but traditional Court meet at noon, so after some time, he was able to get it changed; b. Establishes proper clothing standards; c. Establishes the maximum length of case briefs (75 pages); d. Length of meetings; e. Amount of time to be given to each subject at the meetings; f. Time limits on oral arguments; 2 hours at present; g. Furnishings,in the offices; h. Office assignments; and i. General maintenance of the Supreme Court building (paint, flowers, new roof, parking areas, lighting, improved cafeteria services, new seats in court, seating arrangements, plumbing, electrical, etc). 15. Occasionally even given multiple assignments; John Jay was Secretary of State and later Ambassador to England while serving as Chief Justice. John Marshall was Secretary of State for one month while Chief Justice. Interestingly, it was he who failed to get all of the commissions delivered, thus setting the stage for Marbury v. Madison. 16. There are even more duties and responsibilities that are too numerous to mention - Bar Association role, Chancellor of Judges College, informal legal advisor to the President and the Attorney General, official spokesman for the Court, public relations role, heads up various committees, diplomatic mission (settle disputes between two nations ie. Costa Rica and Panama in 1914; Venezuela and Guiana in 1927), represent the U.S. abroad as requested by the President. In sum, we ask our Chief Justice to be a jurist, a statesman, a scholar and a political spokesperson. This is obviously a very large role for any person to fill. Actually, the office of Chief Justice was patterned somewhat after the English Lord Chancellor position, an office that carried even greater responsibilities. Lord Chancellor responsibilities: l. Preside over the House of Lords, is actually the Speaker of the House of Lords. 2. Head of the Judicial Committee, roughly our Department of Justice (this person is therefore a member of the cabinet). 3. Presiding member of the High Court and a member of the Court of Appeals. 4. Selects judges. Consider the role of the Lord Chancellor again. This person has a judicial branch role, an executive branch role, and a legislative branch role. This is/was an incredibly powerful position. Chief Justice John Marshall, who served for some 34 years, was clearly in favor of enhancing judicial powers, but did not believe it was appropriate to concentrate so much power in the hands of one person. While there were some who proposed a Lord Chancellor-type model for the Chief Justice, Marshall envisioned a different role. His long term in office effectively destroyed any chance that the Chief Justice would ever be a "Lord Chancellor". Do remember the Marshall was not the first Chief Justice. The first two Chief Justices were John Jay and Oliver Ellsworth. They were really nothing but caretakers. John Marshall, who served from 1801 to 1835, is generally viewed as being the first "real" Chief Justice. He had been a very successful attorney in Richmond, Virginia. A very personable and capable individual, he served as the Secretary of State under President John Adams. He was appointed Chief Justice shortly before Adams left the Presidency in 1801. Adams had won the Presidency by only three electorial votes in 1796 over Jefferson. As we have already noted, Jefferson did not like Marshall's perspectives at ail. Had Jefferson won the election in 1796, the Supreme Court today would be a very different judicial tribunal. In fact, had Jefferson won the election in 1796, this would be a very different country today. Marshall served as the Chief Justice during the administrations of six Presidents (Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams and Jackson), and molded the Court and the position of Chief Justice to his liking. Only William 0. Douglas, who never was the Chief Justice, ever served any longer on the Supreme Court bench. Douglas, who retired in 1975, served for 36 years. When length of service comes up, Oliver Wendell Holmes name is often mentioned. He was 90 when he finally retired from the bench in 1931, but he did not serve as long as Marshall or Douglas, A couple of other thoughts: l. The official title of the Chief Justice was originally, The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the-United States. In 1865, Chief Justice Salmon Chase (the only Chief Justice to preside over a Presidential impeachment trial) proposed the name of Chief Justice of the Union. That idea was rejected. In 1888, the title of Chief Justice of the United States was adopted and that is the official title today. 2. William Rehnquist is the 16th person to serve as Chief Justice. 3. The English courts tend to deliver their opinions seriatim. A case is argued, the judges consider the matter and then report their findings independently of each other. In open court, the judges speak in order of seniority, junior member first to senior member, with the Chief Justice speaking last. They are in as much suspense as the rest of those in attendance to see how the vote will finally be, who will win and what the new law will be. The key here is that the judges rendered their decisions wholly independent of each other. There was no conference discussion. Lord Chancellor Mansfield tried to change that. He instituted a practice of meeting in chambers, secluded from the public and hashing out an agreement, compromising where necessary, and assigning someone to write up "the opinion of the court". As soon as Lord Mansfield departed, however, so did this practice.But Marshall liked the idea, and incorporated it from day one in his court. Of the 1127 cases handled by the Marshall Court, only five utilized seriatim opinions and there have been none since,This was a marked departure from English jurisprudence. But Marshall saw a great value in a unified court: a. stabilized the law, brings cohesion to the law by establishing more or less clearly stated rulings - stare decisis notion: b. enhances court's visibility; c. increased role of the court as a vital formulator of public policy; and d. increased courts power and the likelihood of the court being obeyed. If 9 separate decisions and/or points of view were handed down, then the law is unclear-and it is less likely to see any compliance by affected parties. This is problem even today - a 5/4 vote generally means very little as a policy statement; Brown v, Board of Education was so powerful because Chief Justice Warren was able to put together a 9/0 vote in that case. A 9/0 vote means we are firm and you had better do as we say. You cannot simply wait for one of us to die, as you can in a 5/4 decision. Furthermore, if the Court is going to set itself above the executive and legislative branches, then it better speak clearly and with one voice. Jefferson, among others, disagreed with the notion of abandoning seriatim, but since Marshall served so long, it became the standard practice. (chiefjst.211 hard,g)