The U.S. Supreme Court begins its 2005 term today, and for new Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. it will be like a principal's first day at school. He'll be making new friends, learning his way around the building and adjusting to a different schedule.
Here, in quiz form, are a dozen things that Roberts -- and you -- might find interesting about our nation's highest court. See if you can stump your teacher.
1. The court opens with the announcement "Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!" This means:
a. Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye!
b. Put down your Game Boys and pay attention.
c. Last chance to get an ice-cold beverage.
2. In what order are the nine justices assigned seats on the bench?
a. Oldest to youngest.
b. Longest-serving to newest.
c. Whoever gets there first gets the best seat.
3. Justices traditionally wear black robes, but John Jay spruced up his with:
a. Four gold stripes on the sleeves.
b. Salmon-colored sleeves and lapels.
4. What are the requirements to be a Supreme Court justice?
a. You must be a U.S. citizen.
b. You must be a lawyer.
c. There are none.
5. The Constitution says that justices can stay in office:
a. For life.
b. "During good behaviour."
c. Until "we the people" get tired of them.
6. Early justices were also circuit-riders. This meant they:
a. Rode around the country to hear cases.
b. Had to finish one case before starting another.
c. Checked all the circuits if the lights went out.
7. After the British burned the capital in 1814, the court met for a time in:
a. A private home in Washington.
8. What souvenir do lawyers who argue cases before the court receive?
a. Justice trading cards.
b. A goose-quill pen.
c. Their names in The Washington Post.
9. What do the justices use the porcelain spittoons at their desks for?
a. Paper-clip holders.
c. Spitting in.
10. Before hearing a case, what do the justices do as a group?
a. Shake hands.
b. Wish each other well.
c. Make sure their robes are on straight.
11. How many cases is the court asked to take each term?
a. About 70.
b. Close to 700.
c. More than 7,000.
12. What do the justices sometimes do when the court is
a. Write opinions.
b. Watch "Law & Order" reruns.
c. Play dodgeball.
Answers: 1-A, 2-B, 3-B, 4-C, 5-B, 6-A, 7-A, 8-B, 9-B, 10-A, 11-C, 12-A. To find out more about the Supreme Court, go to www.bensguide.gpo.gov, click on "Search" and type "Supreme Court."