The United States Constitution does not specify any qualifications for Supreme Court justices, and no special requirements exist concerning age, education, profession, experience or citizenship. Justices do not need to have particular legal experience, nor do they need to be lawyers. However, as of 2014, all justices have had some sort of preparation in law.Know More
For example, during the 18th and 19th centuries, the United States did not have many law schools. Consequently, some of the justices were trained by legal mentors.
Certain justices followed unusual paths to the Supreme Court. For instance, James F. Byrnes, who served on the bench in 1941 and 1942, never finished high school. A self-taught lawyer, Byrnes passed the bar when he was 23 years old. Another example concerns Robert H. Jackson, who sat on the Supreme Court from 1941 to 1954. Though he never earned a bachelor's degree, Jackson completed Albany Law School in New York when he was 20 but was not awarded the advance degree at the time because rules stated that graduates from the program had to be at least 21. Instead, Jackson was issued a "diploma of graduation." Albany Law School did award him the degree almost 30 years later. The graduation year was identified as 1912.Learn more in Branches of Government
Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court justice. He was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson and approved by Congress on Oct. 2, 1967. Marshall served on the Supreme Court for 24 years.Full Answer >
The U.S. Supreme Court decides criminal and civil appeals cases that involve federal law, according to the U.S. Justice Department’s Offices of the United States Attorneys. Cases come from other federal appeals courts and from state courts, as long as the question involves federal statutes or the U.S. Constitution.Full Answer >
Decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court can be overturned by either a constitutional amendment or by a future U.S. Supreme Court decision, according to HowStuffWorks. Supreme Court decisions can also be countered or circumvented by new legislation.Full Answer >
The U.S. Supreme Court decided many cases in 1954, but by far the most significant and renowned decision was handed down in Brown v. Board of Education, which determined that segregation in public education is unconstitutional. The decision specifically overturned the previous "separate but equal" premise established in 1896 by the Plessy v. Ferguson case that sanctioned state-sponsored public school segregation as long as facilities were equal for all races.Full Answer >