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Through the years with the Supremes.

Here is some interesting information concerning the Supreme Court:

* Quill pens still are part of the courtroom decor.

* In 1789, the chief justice's annual salary was $4,000, while associate justices made $3,500. By 2006, the chief justice earned $212,100 and associate justices received $203,000. By contrast, the nation's president currently earns $400,000 a year.

* There have been 17 chief justices. The official title is chief justice of the United States.

* The chief justice also serves as the chancellor of the Smithsonian Institution and appoints the members of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews applications for warrants related to national security investigations.

* The Constitution states that the judges "shall hold their offices during good behavior." Appointments are for life and end only when a justice resigns, retires, dies, or is impeached and convicted by Congress.

* The first female justice was Sandra Day O'Connor in 1981. The first African-American justice was Thurgood Marshall in 1967. The first Jewish justice was Louis Brandeis in 1916.

* The words "Equal Justice Under Law" are inscribed above the main entrance to the Supreme Court Building.

* The proceedings of the Supreme Court are open to the public.

* Pamela Talkin is the 10th marshal of the Supreme Court and the first woman to hold the position. She is the only person in the courtroom with a gavel. She starts court proceedings with the official opening cry, part of which is "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!"

"Oyez" means "hear" or "attend" and is used as a call for silence and attention.

* Before taking a seat at the bench, each justice shakes hands with the others. Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller cited the practice as a way to remind justices that, although they may have differences of opinion, they share a common purpose.

* In 1941-42, the Court had 1,302 docketed cases. By the end of the 1999-2000 term, a record 7,337 cases competed for a spot on the Court's calendar. On average, about 80 cases are heard each year. The most relevant factor in deciding whether to hear a case is whether it can shed new light on an issue of constitutional law.

* Of the 1999-2000 filings, about two-thirds came from people unable to pay the costs, and about one-third of those from prison inmates.

* An oral argument usually lasts one hour, with an attorney for each side of a case given 30 minutes to make a presentation to the Court and answer questions posed by the justices.

* Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist were law school classmates who dated briefly.

* For the first time in the history of the Court, a majority of the current justices are Roman Catholic: John G. Roberts Jr., Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.
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Title Annotation:Law & Justice
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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