Supreme Court Terms
Terms in this set (44)
Chief Justice: John G. Roberts, Jr.
Appointed by George W. Bush in 2005
Associate Justice: Anthony M. Kennedy
Appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1988
Associate Justice: Clarence Thomas
Appointed by George H. W. Bush in 1991
Associate Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993
Associate Justice: Stephen G. Breyer
Appointed by Bill Clinton in 1994
Associate Justice: Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
Appointed by George W. Bush in 2006
Associate Justice: Sonia Sotomayor
Appointed by Barack Obama in 2009
Associate Justice: Elena Kagan
Appointed by Barack Obama in 2010
The Constitution called for the "judicial Power" to be ...
vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
The Supreme Court is the...
"highest court in the land," and all other courts must follow the decisions made by this Court on issues of federal law.
The Constitution defines the Court's...
original and appellate jurisdiction (two areas of jurisdiction) AS WELL AS any outer jurisdictional limits of any lower courts Congress may create.
What does the Constitution NOT say about the Supreme Court?
it does not otherwise elaborate on what it calls the "judicial power," nor on the organization of the judicial branch.
Who was it left up to, to develop the federal judiciary?
original jurisdiction refers to cases that can be filed and heard directly by the Supreme Court, without first having to pass through any of the lower courts. only a few types of cases fall within the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction, and many of those can be heard in the lower courts as well.
The majority of cases heard by the Supreme Court are...
refers to cases that have been heard and ruled on in lower courts and come to this court either on:
2. through a petition for a writ of certiorari
an appeal to apply to a higher court for a reversal of the decision of a lower court.
Petition for certiorari
is the request that the Court exercise its discretion to review the decision of a lower court.
In appellate cases, which kind are more often heard?
petitions for a writ of certiorari
The Court currently receives approximately how many petitions for certiorari each year (term)?
approx. 7,000-8,000 petitions
Rule of 4
if four Justices decide to hear a case (one that was a petition), then it will be placed on the schedule for briefing and oral argument.
When Justices choose to hear a case and place it on the schedule for briefing/oral argument, this is known as the...
The Justices typically decide to hear cases concerning issues that either have been...
1. ruled on in conflicting manners by lower courts
2. otherwise raise issues of particular national importance
What happens when a petition for certiorari is denied?
when a petition for certiorari is denied, then the ruling of the lower court stands; this does not necessarily mean that the Court agrees with the decision of the lower court. it simply means that for whatever reason, the Justices have decided not to consider the legal issues presented. the same issue could potentially be presented to the Court in a different case in the future, with the Justices choosing to review that particular issue at that time.
In a very small number of cases, the Court is REQUIRED to hear an appeal requested by a party to the case. In this case, the Court's appellate jurisdiction is known as...
Most mandatory appellate jurisdiction cases involve...
a challenge to the Constitutionality of a new law, in which Congress provided for judicial review by a special three judge panel of district court judges, followed by a right of direct appeal to the Supreme Court.
Why did Congress create mandatory fast-track review by the Supreme Court?
because Congress wanted to ensure the constitutionality of new laws could be determined in an expedited manner.
Does the Court have the power to refuse to review the lower court's judgment in a mandatory case if a party to the case requests it?
Judiciary Act of 1789
after the Constitution was adopted, this was the first bill introduced in Congress. it spelled out the specifics of a Supreme Court, which provided that the Court would sit in the nation's Capitol, and that it would be composed of one Chief Justice and five Associate Justices.
Although Congress has changed the number of Justices on the Court from time to time, the current figure of 9 has remained unchanged since..
Does the Constitution call for a certain number of Justices?
no. this number has always been decided by Congress.
The Supreme Court was basically homeless for approx:
What date & year did the Supreme Court first meet?
February 2, 1790
What location did the Justices initially meet?
inside the Merchant's Exchange Building located in New York City, and later Philadelphia, before moving to its current home in Washington, DC
In what year did Chief Justice William Howard Taft finally convince Congress to fund construction of a permanent home for the Supreme Court? When was the building officially completed?
Once the Court moved to DC, and before the current building was completed, they met...
across the street in the Capitol building, specifically in the Old Senate Chambers. You might be able to see this on a tour of the Capitol
The Supreme Court's role in our system of government is defined by...
its authority to interpret federal law, including its function as the final interpreter of the Constitution; the SC has the power to declare legislative acts unconstitutional--an even broader power to declare executive acts unlawful.
Does the idea of "judicial review" explicitly appear in the Constitution?
no, but the principle was recognized by the Founding Fathers, and its importance explicitly discussed in the Federalist Papers, which played a pivotal role in securing the new Constitution's adoption.
How does the Constitution state that Justices of the SC be appointed?
the Constitution states that Justices of the SC be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and are entitled to remain in office "during good behavior." this means that a Justice can only be removed from office through the impeachment process. none of the justices have ever been removed from office by impeachment.
Since it was created by the Constitution, the SC has been the...
final decision making body of the judicial branch.
The Court operates as the
appellate court of last resort for cases heard in the federal courts, as well as for cases heard in state courts that involve an issue of federal law.
Except in rare cases, the Court does not...
conduct trials or weigh facts. rather, it hears arguments only on the legal issues presented in particular cases. the rare exceptions to this rule occur in cases in which the Court has original jurisdiction, such as when one state sues another. cases such as these are not common.
Does the SC give advisory opinions or answer hypothetical questions?
no. it can only decide specific cases based on actual facts presented in an adversarial context. this means that the Court must wait for a lawsuit to be filed and to proceed through all appropriate lower courts before it can decide a particular legal issue. even if the Justices are aware of a new law under consideration by Congress and believe that if the law goes into effect it may be unconstitutional, they do not contact Congress to provide advice. Congress must pass the law and a party must challenge it before the SC can address whether it complies with the Constitution.
When does the SC term begin?
it begins on the first Monday in October, and lasts for one calendar year.