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The Ultimate SCOTUS Quiz
by Staff
Supreme Court judges make up the highest court in the U.S., exercising their authority to determine if laws passed by Congress and signed by the president, as well as decisions made by lower courts.

In what year was the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. built?

  • 1791
  • 1886
  • 1935

Which part of the Constitution establishes the Supreme Court and its authority?

  • the Preamble
  • the First Amendment
  • Article Three

Who was the first Chief Justice?

  • John Rutledge
  • John Jay
  • George Washington

What regulates the number of Supreme Court justices?

  • executive order
  • the Constitution
  • Congress

What is greatest number of justices that have ever sat on the Supreme Court at one time?

  • 15
  • 9
  • 10

How long does a Supreme Court justice's term last?

  • four years
  • for life
  • 10 years

How many Supreme Court justices have been impeached and removed from the court?

  • zero
  • 1
  • 7

What did President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 attempt to do?

  • require the Supreme Court to make decisions on all cases instead of sometimes sending them back to a lower court
  • force the Supreme Court to broadcast deliberations and oral arguments live on the radio
  • increase the number of Supreme Court justices to 15

When the justices are seated on the bench, they're arranged from the center of the bench to the ends in what order?

  • seniority on the Supreme Court
  • number of majority decisions they've joined
  • party affiliation

Which of these tasks is included among the duties of the junior-most associate justice when the justices are in private conference?

  • announcing the names of the other justices as they enter the room
  • getting coffee for the other justices
  • choosing the music that will be played while the justices deliberate, typically classical but occasionally jazz

The 1857 case Dred Scott v. Sandford established what?

  • that slave states were not subject to federal anti-slavery laws
  • that freed slaves could legally be recaptured and sold back into slavery
  • that African-Americans are not American citizens

How many justices must agree that a case is important before the Supreme Court will hear the case?

  • 2
  • 4
  • 9

How many petitions to see a case are presented to the Supreme Court each year?

  • 1,000 - 2,000
  • 4,000 - 5,000
  • 7,000 - 8,000

What phrase, engraved above the front entrance of the Supreme Court building, serves as the court's axiom?

  • "Equal Justice Under Law"
  • "Liberty and Justice for All"
  • "Truth, Justice and the American Way"

Who is allowed in the room with the justices when they have a private conference to discuss a case or take a vote?

  • no one
  • one security guard and one court stenographer
  • the lead attorneys for each side of the case

True or false: Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are open to the public.

  • TRUE
  • FALSE

Which president is the only one to complete a full term in office without appointing a Supreme Court justice?

  • Jimmy Carter
  • Franklin Pierce
  • George H.W. Bush

Who was the first woman justice on the Supreme Court?

  • Sandra Day O'Connor
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Sonia Sotomayor

When the president nominates someone for appointment to the Supreme Court, who must approve the nomination before the nominee can become a Supreme Court justice?

  • the Senate
  • Congress
  • the House Judicial Affairs Committee

What did the Miranda v. Arizona (1966) decision establish?

  • that Mexican immigrants were not entitled to legal protections from illegal searches and seizures by police
  • that a person had to be made aware of his or her legal rights before any statements made to police could be considered admissible in court
  • that it was illegal for a police officer to shoot a fleeing suspect in the back

What is the quorum (minimum number of judges needed) for the Supreme Court to hear a case?

  • 4
  • 6
  • 7

What case affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States?

  • Georgia v. Randolph (2006)
  • Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)
  • Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts (2009)

Which Supreme Court case did away with limits of corporate political spending?

  • Arizona v. Gant (2009)
  • Jaffee v. Redmond (1996)
  • Citizens United v. FEC (2010)

Most Supreme Court cases are appeals of a lower court's decision, but some cases can be filed directly to the Supreme Court. What kinds of cases can do that?

  • 1st degree murder cases
  • lawsuits between two states, or between the federal government and a state
  • cases involving the actions of a federal judge

A statue of this person is located in the center of the ground floor of the Supreme Court building?

  • Jon Jay, first chief justice
  • John Marshall, fourth chief justice
  • Alexander Hamilton, first secretary of the treasury

Why is the writing of the majority opinion such an important part of a Supreme Court decision?

  • The majority opinion is published in its entirety in every major newspaper in the nation.
  • The majority opinion is used to guide lower courts in their decisions on similar cases in the future.
  • The majority opinion is written into federal law during the next congressional session.

In the early years of the Supreme Court, how many opinions did the court issue for each case?

  • one for each justice on the court
  • two -- the majority opinion and the dissent
  • one opinion representing the majority's decision on the case

What happens if a case is decided when an even number of justices are present and the result is a tie?

  • The case is sent down to the lower court for review and may be petitioned to the Supreme Court again at a later date.
  • The decision of the lower court is affirmed, but the case is not considered a binding legal precedent the way it would be if there were a clear majority opinion.
  • The case is held <i>contradicto in adjecto</i> (contradiction in itself) until a tie-breaking judge arrives to create a decisive decision.

What branch of government is the Supreme Court part of?

  • Certiorari Branch
  • Judicial Branch
  • Legal Branch

The segregation of black and white students in public schools was ruled unconstitutional by what unanimous 9-0 Supreme Court decision?

  • Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
  • Marbury v. Madison (1803)
  • Furman v. Georgia (1972)