The Us Supreme Court Essay example

2824 Words Sep 28th, 2008 12 Pages
The US Supreme Court
History, Jurisdiction & Current Justices
The Supreme Court's annual term begins in October. Five justices constitute a quorum to hear a case, and decision is rendered by majority vote. In the event of a tie, the previous judgment is affirmed. Under the Judiciary Law, cases are brought to the court by appeal or by writ of certiorari. Nine judges sit on the Court: the chief justice of the United States and eight associate justices. The president of the United States appoints them to the Court for life terms, but the U.S. Senate must approve each appointment with a majority vote. The Supreme Court wields complete authority over the federal courts, but it has only limited power over state courts. The Court
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Under Article III, the Court's appellate jurisdiction extends to seven classes of cases: (1) cases arising under the Constitution, federal law, or treaty; (2) those involving admiralty and maritime matters; (3) those in which the United States itself is a party; (4) cases between two or more states; (5) cases between citizens of different states or foreign countries; (6) cases between a state and individuals or foreign countries; and (7) cases between citizens of the same state if they are disputing ownership of land given by different states. The first category is the most important. In these cases, part of the federal question jurisdiction, the Court issues its most far-reaching constitutional decisions and other major rulings involving federal law.
The Supreme Court has a far less important authority known as its original jurisdiction, which includes cases that have not been previously heard in other courts. This gives the Court the power to sit as a trial court to hear cases affecting ambassadors and other foreign officials, and in cases in which a state is a party. The Court rarely exercises its original jurisdiction, since Congress has granted concurrent jurisdiction over most of these cases to the lower courts. Only disputes between two or more states must be heard initially in the Supreme Court. Congress cannot alter the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction, but Article III of the Constitution gives it power to control the

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