The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the head of the judicial branch and is the highest federal court in the country. Made up of nine justices, the Supreme Court was established by the U.S. Constitution in 1789 and holds the final jurisdiction over all the laws within the United States. The Supreme Court is also responsible for evaluating the constitutionality of said laws. If, and when necessary, the court has the authority to check the actions of the executive branch and the legislative branch of Congress as well.
The first court comprised of six justices, and the number has fluctuated over the years from five to 10 members. In 1869, Congress set the number of seat to nine, and it has remained at nine to this day.
The current Chief Justice is John G. Roberts Jr. Born on January 27th, 1955 in Buffalo, New York, his family moved to Long Beach, Indiana just a few short years after his birth. After graduating high school, Roberts attended Harvard College with the hopes of becoming a history professor. After Roberts graduated in three years with summa cum laude, he enrolled at Harvard Law School. Here, he discovered his passion for law. Not only was he managing editor of the Harvard Law Review during his time in law school, he also graduated magna cum laude with a Doctor of Jurisprudence.
On behalf of his high honors, he was recruited to clerk for Judge Henry Friendly of the U.S. Court of Appeals and later Associate Justice William Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court. A few years later, Roberts served as an aide to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith, followed by Fred Fielding, White House Counsel, during the Reagan Administration.
Roberts went on to work at a law firm before returning to the Justice Department under President George H. W. Bush. Around this time, Roberts was nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. District. However, a Senate vote was not held, and his nomination expired once Bush left office. A little over ten years later, Roberts became Chief Justice of the United States after he was nominated in 2005 by George W. Bush.
John G. Roberts holds a markedly powerful administrative position. He has ruled that local governments can be exempt from some of the procedural requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 under certain circumstances. He has upheld a mandate in President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which allowed for other pieces of the law to stay intact. These included free health-screenings for certain citizens, permissions for citizens under the age of 26 to be insured under parental plans, and more. Upholding his conservative views, he also voted against the Court’s decision to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.