Can the president appoint anyone as a supreme court justice?

What requirements are there for becoming a supreme court justice? Do you need to be a lawyer or not?

  • You may want to consider historical norms and American Bar Association guidance in your question too. Although more nebulous or not legally required, they may provide more accuracy to what is likely to occur. – user9790 Nov 13 '16 at 22:00

Technically speaking, a Supreme Court justice does not have any required qualifications whatsoever in the constitution. That said, I don't believe that anyone has ever been appointed to the Supreme Court who was not already a lawyer.

Most have previous experience as a judge, although Elena Kagan is a current example of an exception. Prior to Kagan, the last exception was William Rehnquist, appointed by Richard Nixon.

The typical Supreme Court justice was previously a federal appeals court judge and had a "Well Qualified" rating from the American Bar Association.

I would find it unlikely for Donald Trump to nominate someone to the Supreme Court who was not a lawyer. All the possibilities that he mentioned are lawyers and most are judges. The Senate might not confirm such a nominee. But it is not prohibited.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .