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The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court

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Presentation Transcript

  1. The Supreme Court

  2. The Basics…. Justice is Blind Supreme Court created by Article III Section 1 Made up of the Chief Justice of the U.S and 8 other associate justices

  3. Marbury vs. Madison • The Supreme Court first asserted its power of judicial review in Marbury vs. Madison in 1803 • The players: • John Adams-outgoing Federalist President of the United States • Thomas Jefferson- Incoming Democratic-Republican President of the U.S. • James Madison- incoming Secretary of State • William Marbury- appointed a justice of the peace for the District of Columbia • John Marshall- Chief Justice of the United States S. C.

  4. Marbury vs. Madison • The Case: • 1. The night before leaving office, Adams signs several Federalist judicial commissions • Known as the “midnight justices” because Adams signed the commissions late at night • 2. Angered by Adams’ actions, Jefferson orders Madison to withhold any commissions not yet delivered • 3. Hoping to force Jefferson to give him the judgeship, Marbury files suit in the S.C. – He argues that the Judiciary Act of 1789 allows him to take his case directly to the high court • (judiciary act of 1789 said that the S.C. had the right to hear such suits in original jurisdiction)

  5. Marbury vs. Madison • The Decision • Marshall, writing for a unanimous court, declares that the Judiciary Act violates Article III Section II and is therefore unconstitutional • Marbury loses, having based his case on an unconstitutional law • The Impact • The case established the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review-that is, the power to determine the constitutionality of the governments actions • This laid the foundation for the Judicial Branch’s key role in the development of the American system of government

  6. Supreme Court Jurisdiction Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction Most of its cases come from appeals from lower courts Supreme Court usually only hears one or two original cases per term

  7. How the cases reach the court 8,000 cases appealed to the court each year, and only a few hundred are taken on for decisions Most cases are denied because the justices agree with the decision of the lower courts or the case has no significant point of law Rule of Four: 4 of the 9 justices must agree that a case should be put on the courts docket

  8. Writ of Certori • Most cases reach the Supreme Court through Writ of Certiorari • Order by the court directing a lower court to send up the record in a given case for its review • Writs usually only granted when it raises a question of constitutionality

  9. Certificate Another way a case may reach the Supreme Court This is used when the lower court is not clear about the procedure or rule of law that should apply in the case

  10. Higher State Courts & Federal Courts Many cases reach the court by going through state court and federal court systems

  11. How the Court Operates • Terms • The court sits from the first Monday in October to sometime the following June or July. • Each term is identified by the year in which it began • So this years term will be the ……..

  12. Oral Arguments • Once the Supreme Court accepts a case it sets a date on which that case will be heard • Cases are heard in two week cycles • Meaning the court hears oral arguments in several cases for two weeks and then takes recess for two weeks to consider those cases • Oral arguments are heard on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays (sometimes Thursdays) beginning at 10:00 AM • Presentations are limited to 30 minutes

  13. Briefs • Written documents filed with the court before oral arguments begin • Detailed statements to support one side of a case • Can run hundreds of pages long • Amicus Curiae Briefs • Briefs filed by persons not actually involved in the case but interested in its outcome • Example: abortion or affirmative action • Must be granted permission or requested by the Supreme Court

  14. Court in Conference • Most Wednesdays-Fridays through term, the justices meet in conference • This is where they discuss and decide the cases they have heard • Chief Justice speaks first, followed by each associate judge • They each give their views • They go in order of seniority

  15. Decisions & Opinions About 1/3 of the courts decisions are unanimous, however most find the court divided Majority Opinion: this is the official opinion of the court; sets out the courts reasoning Precedents: examples to be followed in similar cases as they arise in the lower courts

  16. Decisions & Opinions • Concurring Opinion: written by one or more justices to emphasize or add a point that was not made in the majority opinion • Dissenting Opinions: written by those justices who do not agree with the Court’s majority decision • The minority decision of today could become the majority decision of tomorrow • Example: Plessy vs. Ferguson…….Brown vs. Board of Education