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The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court

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Presentation Transcript

  1. What you need to know about... The Supreme Court

  2. Facts • There are nine judges on the court • The judges are called “justices” • The main justice is called the “Chief Justice” • Justices are appointed by the President and approved by the U.S. Senate • They serve for life

  3. The Current Court

  4. What Cases • They only hear cases that are brought to them by people who are unhappy with an earlier ruling (called “appeal”) • Of thousands of cases brought to them each year, they only hear about 50. • The cases always have something to do with the Constitution • The first name is always the person doing the suing (Plessy v. Ferguson)

  5. Oral Arguments • The day of the “trial,” lawyers on each side present their arguments to the 9 justices (called oral arguments) • They each have about 45 minutes to make their case • Then the justices ask them a bunch of very hard questions to try to poke holes in their arguments

  6. Where oral arguments are heard

  7. Conference/Ruling • After the oral arguments, the justices discuss the case • They vote who they think had the better argument. Majority rules • A unanimous decision would be 9-0, but this is rare. • Usually the decision is more like 5-4

  8. The Conference Room

  9. Opinions • A justice is chosen to write the “opinion” of the court • If some justices disagree with the other justices they write a “dissenting opinion” (a protest) • If some justices agree with the majority, but for different reasons they write a “concurring opinion”

  10. Timeline • Because these papers (the “opinions”) are sometimes 4o pages long and take months to write, decisions are usually announced several months after oral arguments • The term of the court goes from October to June

  11. Yesterday…