The Supreme Court Composition, Caseload and Current Issues
Supreme Court Selections • Nominee is given to Senate Judiciary Committee. • Nominee grilled by Senate Judiciary • Nominee testifies before committee • Senate Judiciary approves or rejects the nominee • Nominations that are approved by Senate Judiciary, will go to full Senate vote - can be filibustered • *What is the check on the power of the Supreme Court taking place here? • *By what branch/branches?
Checks on Judicial Branch • Presidential nominees must be approved by Senate (only 29 have been rejected out of 147.) • Judges can be impeached • Number and jurisdiction of courts determined by Congress • Amendments to Constitution and new laws can overrule previous court decisions
Current Members • Chief Justice: John Roberts (C) • Liberal Justices: Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader-Ginsberg Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer • Conservative Justices: Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito.
Supreme Court Composition • 9 Judges • Called “justices” • Currently on 15th Chief Justice • Court only hears about 70 cases a year, only 1-2% of cases reach them • Concurring Opinion (Majority) and Dissenting (Minority) view written.
Bush Appointees • Samuel Alito • Chief Justice John Roberts
Obama’s Appointees • Sotomayor- First Hispanic Justice. • Promoted from 2nd Circuit Appeals Court. • Kagan- Another female appointee • Promoted from Solicitor General
Over the Years- what’s defined • National Supremacy and Slavery (1789-1861) • Marbury v. Madison • Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) • Government and the Economy (1865-1936) • Protection of private property • Labor Laws • Government and Political Liberty (1953-1969) • Civil Rights Movement
Deciding what to hear • Cornell University’s Supreme Court Calendar • Writ of Certiorari • Court asks to be sent all relevant material on a case from a lower court • “Discuss List” – clerks identify cases worth of court review • Rule of Four – if 4 justices vote to accept the case, the court will do so • Per Curiam Opinion – brief, unsigned statement of the courts decision • Issued without full review, oral argument, etc.