O0The date links below connect to lists of landmark decisions of the court. The name links connect to discussions of that Justice's court on the Supreme Court Historical Society web site. For a more complete list of supreme court decisions we suggest either Cornell University's Legal Information Institute or FindLaw.
O0 We have followed the convention of dividing the history of the court into the terms of its Chief Justices. While convenient, this often gives a false impression of the importance of the Chief Justice in general, and of certain Chief Justices in particular.
O0 The statutory powers of the Chief Justice, as opposed to those of the Associate Justices, are overwhelmingly administrative, not legal. The Chief is responsible for the operation of the Court, in fact, for the entire federal system; but his influence over cases brought before the court is limited to two functions. First, it is the Chief Justice who introduces and summarizes cases for the other Justices in conference (though it is the decision of all whether a case will be accepted and heard), and second, it is the Chief Justice's right to assign the writing of the majority opinion - so long as he is in the majority. If he is not, the Senior Associate in the majority does this.
O0 The Chief, therefore, is only "first among equals". His influence over the other Justices arises out of his stature as a leader. Some, like Marshall and Warren, have led the Court. Others, like Chase and Vinson, were either followers of or merely frustrated by the more talented Associate Justices who served with them.

1789 - 1795

1795 - 1921

1795 - 1800

1801 - 1835

1835 - 1864

1864 - 1873

1874 - 1888

1888 - 1910

1910 - 1921

Chief Justice John Jay

Chief Justice John Rutledge

Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth

Chief Justice John Marshall

Chief Justice Roger Taney

Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase

Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite

Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller Court

Chief Justice Edward D. White

1921 - 1930

1930 - 1941

1941 - 1946

1946 - 1953

1953 - 1969

1969 - 1986

1986 - 2005

2005 - pres.
Chief Justice William Howard Taft

Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes

Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone

Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson

Chief Justice Earl Warren

Chief Justice Warren E. Burger

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist

Chief Justice John Roberts