What Are an Associate Justice's Duties?

Associate Justices are the eight members of the U.S. Supreme Court in addition to the Chief Justice. Associate Justices have specific duties in their roles as members of the highest court in the country.

Voting on Cases

The most significant duty of an Associate Justice is considering and voting on cases before the court.

Drafting Opinions

Associate Justices are also assigned to write the majority opinion of the court in particular cases throughout each term of the court.

Circuit Oversight

Each Associate Justice is assigned to oversee one of the Appellate Court Circuits in the United States. When an emergency appeal is made from a particular Circuit, it is sent initially to the assigned Associate Justice.

Emergency Stays

An Associate Justice has the power to issue what is known as an "emergency stay." An emergency stay most commonly is issued in the case of an individual facing an imminent execution.

Conference Room Door

An interesting tradition gives to the junior Associate Justice the task of answering the conference door if anyone knocks on it while the Justices are meeting.

Senior Status

A retired Associate Justice remains on the court on "senior status." An Associate Justice on senior status maintains chambers at the Supreme Court and can serve on Court of Appeals cases.

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