Chief Justice of the United States

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The Chief Justice of the United States is the senior judge of the Supreme Court of the United States.

They have no more powers than any of the other judges of the Supreme Court, who are called Associate Justices. The Chief Justice is responsible for organizing the Court's schedules and administration.

By tradition, the Chief Justice administers the oath of office to the President of the United States. The only time this has not happened is when Calvin Coolidge became president.

List of Chief Justices[change | change source]

Chief Justice Date confirmed
(Vote)
Tenure[a] Tenure length Appointed by Prior position[b]
1 CJ Jay.tif John Jay
(1745–1829)
September 26, 1789
(Acclamation)
October 19, 1789

June 29, 1795
(resigned)
5 years, 253 days George Washington Acting
United States Secretary of State
(1789–1790)
2 John Rutledge
(1739–1800)
December 15, 1795
(10–14)[c]
August 12, 1795[d]

December 28, 1795
(resigned, nomination having been rejected)
138 days Chief Justice of the
South Carolina Court of
Common Pleas and Sessions
(1791–1795)
Associate Justice
of the Supreme Court

(1789–1791)
3 CJ Ellsworth.tif Oliver Ellsworth
(1745–1807)
March 4, 1796
(21–1)
March 8, 1796

December 15, 1800
(resigned)
4 years, 282 days United States Senator
from Connecticut
(1789–1796)
4 CJ Marshall copy.png John Marshall
(1755–1835)
January 27, 1801
(acclamation)
February 4, 1801

July 6, 1835
(died)
34 years, 152 days John Adams 4th
United States Secretary of State
(1800–1801)
5 CJ Taney.tif Roger B. Taney
(1777–1864)
March 15, 1836
(29–15)
March 28, 1836

October 12, 1864
(died)
28 years, 198 days Andrew Jackson 12th
United States Secretary
of the Treasury

(1833–1834)
6 CJ Chase.tif Salmon P. Chase
(1808–1873)
December 6, 1864
(acclamation)
December 15, 1864

May 7, 1873
(died)
8 years, 143 days Abraham Lincoln 25th
United States Secretary
of the Treasury

(1861–1864)
7 CJ Waite.tif Morrison Waite
(1816–1888)
January 21, 1874
(63–0)
March 4, 1874

March 23, 1888
(died)
14 years, 19 days Ulysses S. Grant Ohio State Senator
(1849–1850)
Presiding officer,
Ohio constitutional convention
(1873)
8 CJ Fuller.tif Melville Fuller
(1833–1910)
July 20, 1888
(41–20)
October 8, 1888

July 4, 1910
(died)
21 years, 269 days Grover Cleveland President,
Illinois State Bar Association
(1886)
Illinois State Representative
(1863–1865)
9 CJ White.tif Edward Douglass White
(1845–1921)
December 12, 1910[e]
(acclamation)
December 19, 1910

May 19, 1921
(died)
10 years, 151 days William Howard Taft Associate Justice
of the Supreme Court

(1894–1910)
10 CJ Taft.tif William Howard Taft
(1857–1930)
June 30, 1921
(acclamation)
July 11, 1921

February 3, 1930
(retired)
8 years, 207 days Warren G. Harding 27th
President of the United States
(1909–1913)
11 CJ Hughes.tif Charles Evans Hughes
(1862–1948)
February 13, 1930
(52–26)
February 24, 1930

June 30, 1941
(retired)
11 years, 126 days Herbert Hoover 44th
United States Secretary of State
(1921–1925)
Associate Justice
of the Supreme Court

(1910–1916)
12 CJ Stone.tif Harlan F. Stone
(1872–1946)
June 27, 1941[e]
(acclamation)
July 3, 1941

April 22, 1946
(died)
4 years, 293 days Franklin D. Roosevelt Associate Justice
of the Supreme Court

(1925–1941)
13 CJ Vinson.tif Fred M. Vinson
(1890–1953)
June 20, 1946
(acclamation)
June 24, 1946

September 8, 1953
(died)
7 years, 76 days Harry S. Truman 53rd
United States Secretary
of the Treasury

(1945–1946)
14 CJ Warren.tif Earl Warren
(1891–1974)
March 1, 1954
(acclamation)
October 5, 1953[d]

June 23, 1969
(retired)
15 years, 261 days Dwight D. Eisenhower 30th
Governor of California
(1943–1953)
15 CJ Burger.tif Warren E. Burger
(1907–1995)
June 9, 1969
(74–3)
June 23, 1969

September 26, 1986
(retired)
17 years, 95 days Richard Nixon Judge of the
United States Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia Circuit

(1956–1969)
16 CJ Rehnquist.tif William Rehnquist
(1924–2005)
September 17, 1986[e]
(65–33)
September 26, 1986

September 3, 2005
(died)
18 years, 342 days Ronald Reagan Associate Justice
of the Supreme Court

(1972–1986)
17 CJ Roberts.tif John Roberts
(born 1955)
September 29, 2005
(78–22)
September 29, 2005

Incumbent
15 years, 14 days George W. Bush Judge of the
United States Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia Circuit

(2003–2005)

Notes[change | change source]

  1. The start date given here for each chief justice is the day they took the oath of office, and the end date is the day of the justice's death, resignation, or retirement.
  2. Listed here (unless otherwise noted) is the position—either with a U.S. state or the federal government—held by the individual immediately prior to becoming Chief Justice of the United States.
  3. This was the first Supreme Court nomination to be rejected by the United States Senate. Rutledge remains the only "recess appointed" justice not to be subsequently confirmed by the Senate.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Recess appointment. Note: the date on which the justice took the judicial oath is here used as the date of the beginning of their service, not the date of the recess appointment.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Elevated from associate justice to chief justice while serving on the Supreme Court. The nomination of a sitting associate justice to be chief justice is subject to a separate confirmation process.