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Chief Justice of the United States

The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the Judicial Branch of
the government of the United States, and presides over the Supreme Court of
the United States. The office is often, and incorrectly, referred to as
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is composed of nine
members, though that number has varied over the years, headed by the Chief
Justice. The Chief Justice, like all the other justices, is nominated by the
President and confirmed to sit on the court by the U.S. Senate. Some
justices, like William H. Rehnquist, were elevated to the highest post on
the court by the President after having served previously on the bench as
associate justice. Others, like William Howard Taft, were nominated to the
highest bench without any previous experience on the court.


In addition to the duties of the Associate Justices, the Chief Justice has
the following duties:

   * If the Chief Justice is in the majority on a Supreme Court case, he or
     she may decide to write the Opinion of the Court, or may assign it to
     an associate justice of his or her choice.
   * Officiates at the inauguration of the President of the United States.
   * Presides when the Senate tries impeachments of the President of the
     United States.
        o Two Chief Justices, Salmon P. Chase and William Rehnquist, have
          had the duty of presiding over Presidential impeachments and
          trials--Chase in 1868 over the proceedings of President Andrew
          Johnson and Rehnquist in 1998 over the proceeding against Bill
   * Serves as the Chancellor of the Smithsonian Institute.

Chief Justices

 No.        Chief Justice         Years of Service  Appointed by President
 1  John Jay                      1789-1795        George Washington
 2  John Rutledge                 1795             George Washington
 3  Oliver Ellsworth              1796-1800        George Washington
 4  John Marshall                 1801-1835        John Adams
 5  Roger Taney                   1836-1864        Andrew Jackson
 6  Salmon P. Chase               1864-1873        Abraham Lincoln
 7  Morrison Waite                1874-1888        Ulysses S. Grant
 8  Melville Fuller               1888-1910        Grover Cleveland
 9  Edward Douglass White† 1910-1921        William Howard Taft
 10 William Howard Taft           1921-1930        Warren G. Harding
 11 Charles Evans Hughes          1930-1941        Herbert Hoover

 12 Harlan Stone†          1941-1946        Franklin Delano
 13 Fred Vinson                   1946-1953        Harry S. Truman
 14 Earl Warren                   1953-1969        Dwight D. Eisenhower
 15 Warren E. Burger              1969-1986        Richard Nixon
 16 William Rehnquist†     1986-present     Ronald Reagan

     † Denotes elevation from associate justice.
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