Supreme COurt • Coequal with Congress and President • Last resort in interpreting federal law • Decisions are binding on lower courts • Not required to hear all case • In 2012 7,713 cases were filed in Supreme Court • 79 cases were chosen to be argued • Why does the Supreme Court choose carefully when deciding on what cases to hear?
Supreme Court Jurisdiction • Original and Appellate • Most cases are appeals • Hears cases on.. • Cases involving reps from foreign gov. • Cases in which state is a party • Authority to rule over federal issues. • Even in State cases
Supreme Court Justices • 9 Justices • Chief Justice and 8 associate justices • Congress sets this number • Serve for life • Impeached for …treason, bribery, high crimes and other misdemeanors.
Justice’s Job • Duty: Hear and Rule on cases • Courts’ Opinion: decision and explanation for decision. • Other duties: • Assigned to Federal Circuit to handle special legal actions • Special Commissions • Kennedy Assassination • Nuremburg Trials
Background on Justices • What qualifications would you need to become a Supreme Court Justice? • Judges usually have… • Legal degree • Experience as federal or state court judge • Over 50 years old (10 were under) • Not Representative of General Population • Only 4 women and 2 African Americans
First Female Supreme Court Justice First African American Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor 1981-2006 Thurgood Marshall 1967-1991
Appointing a Justice • Appointment by President • Senate approves • President will appoint a Justice will similar ideology President Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor in 2009