Marshal of the United States Supreme Court
The Marshal of the United States Supreme Court is the person, similar to a bailiff, who attends the Supreme Court of the United States. The Marshal of the United States Supreme Court controls the United States Supreme Court Police, a security police service answerable to the court itself rather than to the president or attorney general. It handles security for the Supreme Court building and for the justices personally, and undertakes whatever other missions the court may require.
(a) The Supreme Court may appoint a marshal, who shall be subject to removal by the Court, and may fix his compensation.
(b) The marshal may, with the approval of the Chief Justice of the United States, appoint and fix the compensation of necessary assistants and other employees to attend the Court, and necessary custodial employees.
(c) The marshal shall:
(1) Attend the Court at its sessions;
(2) Serve and execute all process and orders issued by the Court or a member thereof;
(3) Take charge of all property of the United States used by the Court or its members;
(4) Disburse funds appropriated for work upon the Supreme Court building and grounds under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol upon certified vouchers submitted by the Architect;
(5) Disburse funds appropriated for the purchase of books, pamphlets, periodicals and other publications, and for their repair, binding, and rebinding, upon vouchers certified by the librarian of the Court;
(6) Pay the salaries of the Chief Justice, associate justices, and all officers and employees of the Court and disburse other funds appropriated for disbursement, under the direction of the Chief Justice;
(7) Pay the expenses of printing briefs and travel expenses of attorneys in behalf of persons whose motions to appear in forma pauperis in the Supreme Court have been approved and when counsel have been appointed by the Supreme Court, upon vouchers certified by the clerk of the Court;
(8) Oversee the Supreme Court Police.
To carry out these duties, 40 U.S.C. § 6121 authorizes the Marshal to police the Supreme Court building and protect the Justices, employees of the Court, and visitors to the Court. The Marshal also has authority to make arrests in carrying out these duties.
Participants in the Courtroom
The Marshal or the Marshal’s representative sits to the right side of the bench. The Marshal’s roles are to call the Court to order, maintain decorum in the courtroom, tape the audio portions of argument, and time the oral presentations so that attorneys do not exceed their one-half hour limitations.
Marshal’s Aides are seated behind the Justices. They often carry messages to the Justices or convey messages from a Justice to a member of his or her staff.
List of Marshals
The office of Marshal was created by statute in 1867. The Marshals since that date have been:
- Richard C. Parsons 1867–1872
- John G. Nicolay 1872–1887
- John M. Wright 1888–1915
- Frank Key Green 1915–1938
- Thomas E. Waggaman 1938–1952
- T. Perry Lippitt 1952–1972
- Frank M. Hepler 1972–1976
- Alfred M. Wong 1976–1994
- Dale E. Bosley 1994–2001
- Pamela Talkin 2001–present
- United States Marshals Service – The United States Marshals Service also executes all lawful writs, processes, and orders issued under the authority of the United States, and shall command all necessary assistance to execute its duties.