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Chief Justice

n. the presiding judge of any State Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is appointed by the President and then must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Chief Justice sets the tone for the court, assigns the writing of majority opinions to fellow justices or to himself/herself, and oversees the management of the court and its staff. Since U.S. Supreme Court justices serve for life or until voluntary retirement, they can have long-term influence. There have been only 16 U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justices in over 200 years. All but two were appointed from outside the ranks of existing Associate Justices.

The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications