Organization and Duties • Nine Justices on the Court (one chief justice) • Hear and Rule on Cases
How Do You Get There? • Go through the lower court process • Be accepted by four justices to get put on docket • The Court only heard 74 cases in 2004.
Power of the Court • Final say on Cases • Judicial Review (Marbury v. Madison) • Constitution is supreme law of the land • Conflict between Constitution and law Constitution wins • Must be able to nullify unconstitutional law
Decision Making Process • Written Arguments • Oral Arguments • Conference • Opinion Writing • Announcement
Written Arguments • Each side prepares a brief • Briefs are studied by the justices • Why do the justices need briefs?
Oral Arguments • Each side presents arguments • Each only get thirty minutes to summarize their case • Justices ask questions
Conference • Justices get together and discuss the case in private • Five vote majority to decide on a case • Chief Justice presides over the Conference
Opinion Writing • Majority Opinions • Concurring Opinions • Dissenting Opinions • Unanimous Opinion
Announcement • Court announces the decision • Opinions are then used in other courts to guide decisions on other cases
Reasons for Decisions • The Law (stare decisis) • Changing Social Conditions • Differing Legal Views • Personal Beliefs