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The judicial branch hears cases that challenge or require interpretation of the legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President. It consists of the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. Appointees to the federal bench serve for life or until they voluntarily resign or retire.
The Supreme Court is the most visible of all the federal courts. The number of Justices is determined by Congress rather than the Constitution, and since 1869, the Court has been composed of one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices. Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
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