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MORE ABOUT SUPREME COURT
What is the Supreme Court?
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. It acts as the final authority of the judicial branch of government. The judicial branch is made of the many courts that make up the American justice system.
As a court, the Supreme Court rules on cases following trials. For the most part, the Supreme Court only hears appeals from lower federal courts. An appeal is a request from a participant in a trial who is unhappy with the decision and believes it was based on a legal error.
As the highest court, the Supreme Court’s rulings are final and cannot be appealed. Additionally, every other court in the country must adhere to the Supreme Court’s rulings. The government is also bound by the Supreme Court’s decisions and cannot enforce any laws deemed illegal by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has the very important power of judicial review, which is the ability to name a law or executive order as unconstitutional. Judicial review is the main way the judicial branch checks the power of the legislative branch (Congress) and the executive branch (the president).
The Supreme Court is composed of one Chief Justice (judge) and several associate justices. Congress decides how many justices the court has. The court started with six justices, which was increased to nine in 1948.
The Chief Justice’s vote is equal to the other justices, but they have the power to decide who gets to write the Court’s opinion on a case. Justices are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. A justice serves for life unless they retire or are removed following impeachment.
The Supreme Court chooses which case it hears. The court refusing to take a case is often seen as a very important act, as well. Lower courts and the government accept this as a sign that the Supreme Court agreed with the lower court’s ruling.
Why is the Supreme Court important?
The Supreme Court, as well as the rest of the federal court system, was established by the US Constitution, the document that serves as the fundamental law of the country. Article III, Section 1 states, “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” The Supreme Court first assembled on February 1, 1790.
Over hundreds of years, Supreme Court decisions have had a huge impact on American law and are often extremely controversial. Some of the most notable Supreme Court cases in American history include the following:
- Marbury v. Madison (1803). The Supreme Court stated that its power of judicial review was implicitly given to it by the Constitution.
- Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). The Supreme Court ruled that fugitive slaves who escaped to free states were not citizens and that African Americans would never be American citizens. This ruling was extremely unpopular with the free states and pushed the country closer to civil war.
- Brown v. Board of Education (1954). The Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation was unconstituional, making the practice illegal across the country.
- Roe v. Wade (1970). The Supreme Court ruled that a woman has the right to choose to have an abortion. This ruling remains very controversial today.
- Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). The Supreme Court ruled that states must recognize same-sex marriages. This decision legalized gay marriage in the United States.
Did you know … ?
Only one Supreme Court justice has ever faced impeachment charges: Associate Justice Samuel Chase. Chase spoke out against Thomas Jefferson’s attempts to weaken the power of the federal courts. Fueled by political motivations, Jefferson’s supporters in Congress impeached Chase in 1804 but failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote needed to remove him from the court.
What are real-life examples of Supreme Court?
This photograph shows the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC, where the justices of the Supreme Court perform their duties.
Supreme Court decisions are often extremely controversial. Many Americans view the Supreme Court as their only chance to get political change that they want.
CNN: Supreme Court has declined to take up challenge from lawyers for Trump challenging 2020 election results in the battleground state of Wisconsin.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) March 8, 2021
US Supreme Court rules that gay marriage is a right nationwide
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) June 26, 2015
What other words are related to Supreme Court?
The Supreme Court is part of the:
A. legislative branch
B. judicial branch
C. executive branch
How to use Supreme Court in a sentence
Advocates of direct shipping won a major Supreme Court ruling in 2004, but that left some issues unresolved.Online wine sales continue to grow, but can they — or should they — replace local shops?|Dave McIntyre|February 26, 2021|Washington Post
In September 2020, Semenya lost her long-running legal battle at Switzerland’s Supreme Court, preventing her from competing at the Tokyo Olympics unless she agrees to medical interventions to lower her testosterone.Olympic Champion Caster Semenya Is Taking Her Fight to Compete to the European Court of Human Rights|Suyin Haynes|February 25, 2021|Time
We have the Supreme Court ruling in Bostock, a ruling that adds to the momentum.Sen. Merkley hints at support for scrapping filibuster to pass Equality Act|Chris Johnson|February 24, 2021|Washington Blade
The United Kingdom's Supreme Court ruled Friday that Uber drivers should be classified as "workers" and not self-employed independent contractors, dealing a major blow to the ride-hailing giant's business model.U.K. Supreme Court rules Uber drivers are "workers," not independent contractors|Axios|February 19, 2021|Axios
The Supreme Court ruling does not apply to two other sections of civil rights law — regarding all federally funded programs and public spaces and services — because they do not currently prohibit sex discrimination.Equality Act introduced in House to provide sweeping LGBTQ protections|Samantha Schmidt|February 18, 2021|Washington Post
Higher courts, including the Supreme Court had refused to intercede, and the stay was to expire tonight.The Back Alley, Low Blow-Ridden Fight to Stop Gay Marriage in Florida Is Finally Over|Jay Michaelson|January 5, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The Supreme Court eventually stepped in and ended legal segregation in the landmark 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education.The ‘No Child’ Rewrite Threatens Your Kids’ Future|Jonah Edelman|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
I was convicted a year later and sentenced to death—a charge later overturned by the Supreme Court when it called for a retrial.An American Marine in Iran’s Prisons Goes on Hunger Strike|IranWire|December 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The Supreme Court justices who decided the Integrity case make $244,440 a year (Chief Justice Roberts makes $255,500).
The Supreme Court just handed a big holiday present to low-wage workers across America in the form of a giant f*ck you.
He was personally responsible for creating a strong foundation for the Supreme Court.Hallowed Heritage: The Life of Virginia|Dorothy M. Torpey
He was chosen justice of the supreme court at the first judicial election held under the new state constitution.The Every Day Book of History and Chronology|Joel Munsell
In the preparation of briefs and in oral arguments before the Supreme Court, Fitch was the superior.A Hoosier Chronicle|Meredith Nicholson
If you pull that ground-lease business on us and try to drive us out, we'll fight you all the way up to the Supreme Court.The Wreckers|Francis Lynde
But without heeding this the Assembly conferred upon the Supreme Court the power of injunction.A short history of Rhode Island|George Washington Greene
British Dictionary definitions for Supreme Court
Cultural definitions for Supreme Court
A federal court; the highest body in the judicial branch. The Supreme Court is composed of a chief justice and eight associate justices, all of whom are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They serve on the Court as long as they choose, subject only to impeachment. Each state also has a supreme court; these courts are all courts of appeals, primarily hearing cases that have already been tried. The federal Supreme Court (“the” Supreme Court) has the final word on interpretation of all laws and of the Constitution itself.