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The Supreme Court/ The Supreme Court at Work

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1 The Supreme Court/ The Supreme Court at Work
The Judicial Branch The Supreme Court/ The Supreme Court at Work Section 3&4 I can explain the organization of the Supreme Court I can describe the Supreme Court at work

2 Organization and Duties
The Supreme Court Jurisdiction and Powers The Supreme Court is composed of nine judges: the chief justice of the United States and eight associate judges. Jurisdiction -The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in only two instances. It can preside over cases that involve diplomats from foreign countries and in disputes between states. -In all other instances, the Supreme Court hears cases that have been appealed from lower district courts or federal regulatory agencies. -The Supreme Court does not hear all the cases it receives. It has final authority in any case involving the Constitution, acts of Congress, and treaties with other nations. Organization and Duties -The main duty of justices is to hear and rule on cases.

3 Selecting the Justices Background of the Justices
The Supreme Court Selecting the Justices -The president appoints Supreme Court justices, with the approval of the Senate. -Vacancies in the court open up due to the resignation or death of a justice. -Senators typically give the president advice in appointing new justices, which he is free to accept or ignore. Background of the Justices -Supreme Court justices are always lawyers, although there is no legal requirement that they must be lawyers. -Political support and agreement with the president’s ideas are important factors in who gets appointed. Powers of the Court The Supreme Court is the final court to which anyone can appeal a legal decision.

4 The Supreme Court -The legislative and executive branches of government must follow the Supreme Court’s rulings. Judicial Review -One of the most important powers of the Supreme Court is the power of judicial review. Judicial review means that the Court can review any federal, state, or local law or action to see if it is constitutional, or allowed by the constitution. Marbury v. Madison -A provision of the Judiciary Act of 1789 gave the court the power of judicial review for acts of state governments. -In 1803 the case of Marbury v. Madison established that the Supreme Court had the power to decide whether laws passed by Congress were constitutional.

5 Limits on the Supreme Court
-Under the system of checks and balances there are limits on the power of the federal courts, including the Supreme Court. -Congress can get around a court ruling by passing a new law or changing a law ruled unconstitutional by the court. -Another limit is the fact that the Court can only hear and make rulings on the cases that come to it.

6 The Supreme Court At Work
Court Procedures The Supreme Court is not required to hear all cases presented before it and carefully chooses the cases it will consider. -The Supreme Court meets for about nine months each year.

7 The Supreme Court At Work How Cases Reach the Court
-An important task of Supreme Court justices is to decide whether to hear a case. -Accepted cases go on the Court docket, or calendar. Caseload -The number of cases handled in a given period is called the caseload. -The Court may decide several hundred cases, but, for example, it gave full hearings and written opinions in only 74 cases in 2004. Selecting Cases -They usually decide to hear a case if it involves a significant constitutional question. -Justices also tend to select cases that involve legal, rather than political issues.

8 The Supreme Court At Work Steps in Decision Making
Writ of Certiorari -A writ of Certiorari directs a lower court to send its records on a case to the Supreme Court review. This happens if one of the parties involved in a case claims that the lower court made an error in the case. Steps in Decision Making -Every case the Supreme Court accepts goes through a series of steps: written arguments, oral arguments, conference, opinion writing, and announcement. Written Arguments -Once the Court takes a case, the lawyers for each side prepare a brief. A brief is a written document that explains one side’s position on the case.

9 The Supreme Court At Work
Oral Arguments -Next, lawyers for each side present oral arguments. Each side only gets 30 minutes to summarize its case. Conference -On Fridays the justices get together to make their first decisions about the cases they have been studying. -A majority-at least 5 votes when all 9 justices are participating-decides a case. Opinion Writing -A majority opinion presents the views of the majority of the justices on a case. The opinion states the facts of the case, announces the ruling, and explains the Court’s reasoning in reaching the decision. -The justice who agrees with the majority decision but has different reasons writes a conjuring opinion.

10 The Supreme Court At Work
-Justices who oppose the majority decision issue a dissenting opinion. -The Court may also issue a unanimous opinion in which all the justices vote the same way. Announcement -When the opinion writing is completed, the Court announces its decision. Reasons for Decisions The law, social conditions, and legal and personal views are among the factors that influence the decisions of the Supreme Court. The Law -A guiding principle for all judges is called stare decisis, a Latin term that means “let the decision stand.” By following precedent, courts make the law predictable.

11 The Supreme Court At Work Changing Social Conditions
-The social situation can also influence Court decisions. -When social conditions change the, the Court may make new interpretations of the law. -Plessy v. Ferguson- “separate but equal” Reversing Plessy -In 1954 in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the court overturned the precedent of “separate but equal.” Differing Legal Views -Justices have varying views of the law and the proper role of the courts in our society. Personal Beliefs - Justices see the world based on his or her own life experiences.

12 The Supreme Court Powers of the Court

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