Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Supreme Court Chief Justice ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Supreme Court Chief Justice
Category: Relationships and Society > Government
Asked by: dcountry-ga
List Price: $4.50
Posted: 08 Nov 2005 11:39 PST
Expires: 08 Dec 2005 11:39 PST
Question ID: 590620
What law or act gives the President of the United States the power to
nominate / appoint the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court?  In
other words, why does the most senior Associate Justice not become the
next Chief Justice, or why do the Associate Justices not vote
internally on who should be the next Chief Justice once the current
Chief Justice retires or passes away?  If there is a particular law or
act, what is the specific language giving the President these powers,
when was it passed, etc.?
Subject: Re: Supreme Court Chief Justice
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 08 Nov 2005 12:31 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Dear dcountry-ga;

Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question.

Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution provides that the
president of the United States shall nominate judges of the Supreme
Court. Of the president?s authority the Constitution says:

?He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the
Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present
concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent
of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and
Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the
United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided
for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by
Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think
proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads
of Departments.?

Article II, Section 2
Ratified December 15, 1791

When the position of chief justice is vacant, the president may, at
his discretion, appoint a chief justice from outside the court or
elevate an associate justice to the position. The fact is that there
is no law that specifically gives the president the authority to
nominate a Chief Justice in particular. But neither is the president
bound by law or tradition to elevate an associate justice to the chief
justice?s position. In the absence of any law or tradition prohibiting
the appointment of a Chief Justice specifically, the president derives
his authority under Constitutional law from the portion of this
Article that says, ?He shall have Power [to]? appoint?judges to the
Supreme Court? (Article II, Section 2) and may, at his discretion,
appoint a Chief Justice to fill the vacancy or choose to elevate an
associate justice to that position, thus creating a new vacancy.
Presumably, in times such as these when the president?s attention on
more urgent issues is necessary, the nomination and appointment of a
Chief Justice rather than the elevation of an associate justice is
merely killing two birds with one stone.

I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher


Defined above



Google ://


Chief justice

Supreme Court





dcountry-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
This addressed what I was looking for.  Thanks for the work!  I still
don't understand why the Supreme Court would not have its own
mechanisms for selecting the chief justice, but that wasn't the focus
of the question.  I do feel as though I have a better understanding
now of where the president derives his / her power to appoint /
nominate the chief justice, which was the point of the question. 
Thanks again.

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy