The Supreme Court “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.”
A. Judicial Review 1. Judicial review is the power to decide on the constitutionality of an act of government. 2. The principle of judicial review was established in the case of Marbury v. Madison, 1803.
Marbury V Madison • Did the Court have the ability to force President Jefferson to give Marbury his job? • Congress said yes • Constitution said no • Constitution won – the court invalidated its first act of Congress as being Unconstitutional
Checks and Balances Independence: judicial review, life terms, cannot have salaries lowered while serving Dependence: nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate, size of the court set by Congress, reliant on President to enforce decisions, salary raises up to Congress
B. Jurisdiction The Supreme Court is overwhelmingly an appellate court Today the Supreme Court has almost complete control over its own caseload. Their rulings impact all courts in the United States
C. How Cases Reach the Court Under "the rule of four," at least four judges must agree that the Court should hear a case before that case is selected for the Court's docket. The court only takes about 1 percent of the cases (about 100) that are requested for review They will usually only take cases that involve new and important questions of law
The Court’s impact Once the court makes a rule it affects all state and federal courts From that point on, any court that faces a similar problem has to come to the same ruling In Engle v Vitale (1962) the Supreme Court ruled that New York schools cannot start the day with a nondenominational prayer As a result, state and federal courts across the country began to block player in schools
The Supreme Court at Work The judges make their decisions based on one-hour Oral Arguments and written arguments called Briefs After Oral Arguments the justices meet in secret session to discuss in depth and vote on the cases they have heard. Opinions - The majority of the justices of the Supreme Court write the Opinion of the Court (the majority opinion); there may also be concurring opinions and dissenting opinions; all may have an influence on subsequent rulings. Concurring opinion - an opinion that agrees with the majority who should win, but for a different reason Dissenting opinion - an opinion disagreeing with the Opinion of the Court on who should win.