- from The Supreme Court
There are nine justices on the Supreme Court. They meet in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court is part of the judicial branch of the government. The judicial branch is our system of courts.
Throughout the country, there are local courts. There are state courts. And there are federal courts. But the Supreme Court is the only court set up and named in the U.S. Constitution. It is the highest court in the land. Sometimes it is called the “court of last resort.”
There is nothing in the Constitution that states how many justices should serve. Over the years, different acts of Congress have changed the number. From a low of five to a high of ten. In 1869, the number of seats was fixed at nine. Once confirmed, justices serve for the rest of their lives. Or they can choose to retire. New members can only be chosen when one of the nine justices leaves. The longest time anyone served on the Supreme Court was William O. Douglas. Justice Douglas served from 1939–1975. That’s a total of 36 years, 7 months, and 8 days.