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Congressional Quarterly





Supreme Court Quiz

How well do you know our hallowed halls of justice? Answer the following questions, then click the submit button at the bottom of the page.

1. Why are there nine justices?
a. The Constitution says there must be nine.
b. That was the number set by Congress in 1869.
c. To ensure as many 5-4 rulings as possible.

2. If Congress wanted to reduce the number of justices, who would have to leave?
a. The most junior justice, Stephen G. Breyer
b. The eldest justice, John Paul Stevens, who is 76
c. The justice who sits in Seat 9, created in 1837, now held by Sandra Day O'Connor

3. How long does someone get to be a justice?
a. For as long as the president who appointed him or her is in the White House.
b. For life.
c. For staggered 10-year terms.

4. How many justices have there been in the history of the court?

5. What do the justices do before they go on the bench?
a. Shake hands all around.
b. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
c. Form a circle and nod in unison.

6. How often does the court pose for a group portrait?
a. Every term.
b. Whenever a new justice arrives.
c. Whenever a justice grows a beard or shaves it off.

7. Which president became a justice himself?
(Last name only)

8. Who said the following:
"...[H]ard-core pornography. I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it."
(Last name only)

9. What is inscribed on the front facade of the Supreme Court building?
a. "Equal Justice Under Law"
b. "In the Constitution We Trust"
c. "Stare Decisis"

10. Who is present at the justices' conference when they vote on cases?
a. All the justices, their law clerks and a press "pool" of five reporters designated by the press corps.
b. Only the justices and their handpicked law clerks.
c. Only the nine justices.

11. Check "Yes" for all of the following who are or were justices of the Supreme Court and "No" for all who were not.
Harry Blackmun
Warren E. Burger
G. Harrold Carswell
Thomas B. Edsall
Felix M. Frankfurter
Douglas H. Ginsburg
Learned Hand
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Anthony Kennedy
William Marbury

Compiled by Washington Post writer Joan Biskupic and washingtonpost.com producer Lisa Todorovich.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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