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How to Get Sworn In to the U.S. Supreme Court

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

There may be no pragmatic reason for you to be sworn in to the Supreme Court. After all, how many of us will ever actually argue a case in those hallowed chambers? Still, for most of us, the Supreme Court represents the epitome of our legal system.

It may be the Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park of American law, home of some of the greatest legal minds in history, the playing field for countless others, but gaining admission is simply a matter of applying, after meeting a few prerequisites.

In honor of Supreme Court Week here at FindLaw, here are the rules of the game:

SCOTUS Week at FindLaw


Requirements for Admission

The formal requirements are fairly simple, but don't expect to join right out of school.

Before applying, you must be admitted to practice in the highest court of a State, Commonwealth, Territory or Possession, or the District of Columbia for a period of at least three years immediately before the date of your application, must have a clean disciplinary record during that three-year period, and the court must be satisfied that you are of good moral and professional character.

You'll also need others to vouch for you. The court requires a letter of good standing from the presiding judge, clerk, or other official from your home state's highest court, plus two sponsors who can attest that you meet the Court's requirements, and who are current members of the Supreme Court bar.

And, of course, there is the application and a $200 fee.

Tips for Admission

The paperwork is pretty self-explanatory, but you might have trouble finding two sponsors who are members of the High Court's bar association. We'd recommend contacting your alma mater. Most schools, formally or informally, offer group swearing-in ceremonies and likely have members of the Court's bar association on the faculty.

If your law school doesn't offer a group swearing-in ceremony, the Court gives you the option of being sworn-in in open court, or if you aren't the ceremonious type, you can elect to be admitted on written motion instead.

Admission on written motion requires a member of the Court's bar to sign off on your application as the person bringing the motion. Unlike your sponsors, this person may be a relative and their name will appear on your certificate of admission.

See? It's not nearly as difficult to gain admission to the Supreme Court as it was to join your state bar. No extra bar exam is required, just a check and paperwork. Now wouldn't that be a neat little certificate to hang on the office wall? Assuming you have a wall.

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