2* The highest court in the land is called the U.S. Supreme Court * The Congress has the constitutional power to create any other national courts it deems necessaryNo Age limit9 justices on the Supreme Court (1 Chief justice and 8 associate justices) – may change** appointed by the President, approved by the Senate** can be impeached
5RequirementsNo fixed years to serve (usually until death, retirement or conviction)Reason: By design, this insulates them from the temporary passions of the public, and allows them to apply the law with only justice in mind, and not electoral or political concerns.
6Primary Function Interpret laws Settle Disputes Interpret Treaties with foreign governmentsOversees court system in the U.S.The Supreme court also has the power of Judicial Review. This is the power to determine if laws are constitutional
7Hears cases on judicial review May take up cases on appeals from the U.S. Court of Appeals and U.S. District CourtsAlso hears cases directly appealed from the state supreme courtsThere are 10 courts around the nation and 1 “traveling” court to hear cases appealed from the U.S. District CourtsThere is at least 1 in every state. This is the court of original jurisdiction for most federal crimes
8Significant Supreme Court Cases 1803 Marbury v. Madison— was the first time a law passed by Congress was declared unconstitutional1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford—Declared that a slave was not a citizen, and that Congress could not outlaw slavery in U.S. territories1896 Plessy v. Ferguson—Said that racial segregation was legal
91954 Brown v. Board of Education—Made racial segregation in schools illegal 1966 Miranda v. Arizona —stated that criminal suspects must be informed of their rights before being questioned by the police.1973 Roe v. Wade—Made abortion legal2003 Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger—Ruled that colleges can, under certain conditions, consider race and ethnicity in admissions.