Supreme Court • The highest court in the land !! • Court of last resorts • Judicial Review • Does not have to listen to cases that are appealed to them. Only 4 justices have to agree to hear the case. (Rule of Four) • It’s rulings become law for the lower courts, police, and legislators must follow
What is the job of the Justices? • Judicial activism: Some believe the Court should use their power to right certain social injustices and use the Constitution to answer various political and social questions… (what do you think?) • Judicial restraint: The belief that the Court should only rule on issues that are in violation of the Constitution. Staying away from political and social questions.
Who becomes a Judge? • Federal and State Judges, law professors or legal scholars. • Appointed by the President of the U.S. and confirmed by the Senate judiciary committee. • 9 (nine) Justices “sit on the bench” • Their term is for LIFE. They can be impeached or retire. (avg. is 26 yrs)
Supreme Court Justices • Salary is $213,900 for an associate justice & $223,500 yearly for chief justice.
Supreme Court Justice Yr. Appt. By Pres. John Roberts 2005 G.W. Bush Samuel A. Alito Jr. 2006 G.W. Bush Anthony Kennedy 1988 Reagan Antonin Scalia 1986 Reagan Clarence Thomas 1991 Bush Sr. Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1993 Clinton Stephen Breyer 1994 Clinton Sonia Sotomayor 2009 Obama Elena Kagan 2010 Obama
Biographies on the justices • John Roberts • Chief Justice • Court of Appeals D.C. • 14 years in private practice • Appointed by G.W. Bush in 2005 at age 50
Biographies on the justices • Samuel A. Alito Jr. • 1987 – 1990 U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey • 1999 – 2004 Adjunct Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. • served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1990 to 2006 • Appointed by G.W. Bush in 2006 at age 55
Biographies on the justices • Anthony Kennedy • B.A. Stanford, London School of Economics • 1963-75 LL.B. Harvard • 1965-75 Prof. of Constitutional Law McGeorge Law school. • 1961 Army Nat. Guard • 1975 9th Circuit Court of Appeals • Appointed by Pres. Reagan in 1988 at age 52
Biographies on the justices • Antonin Scalia • Harvard Law degree • U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia • Conservative • Appointed by President Reagan in 1986 at the age of 50.
Biographies on the justices • Clarence Thomas • A.B Holy Cross College • 1974 J.D. Yale • 1974-77 Asst. Att. General Missouri • 1982-90 EEOC Chairman • 1990 D.C. Circuit of Appeals • Appointed by Pres. Bush in 1991 at age 43
Biographies on the justices • Ruth Bader Ginsburg • B.A. Cornell Un. • LL.B. Columbia Law • 1959-61 Law Clerk • 1963-80 Law Prof. Rutgers and Columbia • 1971 ACLU general council • 1980 D.C. Circuit of Appeals • Appointed by Clinton in 1993 at age 60
Biographies on the justices • Stephen Breyer • A.B. Stanford • LL.B. Harvard • 1964 Law Clerk • 1967-80 Prof. Harvard • 1980-90 1st Circuit Court of Appeals • Appointed by Clinton in 1994 at age 56
Biographies on the justices • Sonia Sotomayor • Yale Law School • U.S. Court of Appeals • Taught at Columbia and New York University • Appointed by Obama in 2009 at the age of 55
Biographies on the justices • Elena Kagan • Harvard Law School • Prof. at Univ. of Chicago • Dean at Harvard Law School • U.S. Court of Appeals • Appointed by Obama in 2010 at age of 50
Reasons that a case goes to the Supreme Court… • “Writ of certiorari”to make certain that there was not an error in the lower courts • Appealing a lower court ruling. This can be done by either side of the case (whoever lost the case).
Legal Costs of the cases $$$ • $100 application fee and $300 for a scheduling fee • Lawyer fees, cost of providing the records from the lower courts • “informa pauperis” in the manner of a poor person, the Supreme Court will waive the costs
Legal Briefs contain.. • Established precedent from prior rulings • Amicus Curiae=friends of the court They are powerful interest groups that want the court to decide the case in their favor. Even though they are not directly involved in the case. • They must get permission to write a curiae brief
Opinions by the Court • Majority opinion= expresses the opinion and reasoning that the majority of the justices held • Dissenting opinion= express the opinion and reasoning that the Justice held (went against) • Concurring opinion= supports the majority but the decision by the Justice was obtained in a different manner
Project Topics: • John Roberts • Samuel A. Alito Jr. • Anthony Kennedy • Antonin Scalia • Clarence Thomas • Ruth Bader Ginsburg • Stephen Breyer • Sonia Sotomayor • Elena Kagan • Lemon Test • Judicial Activism & Judicial Restraint • Amicus Curiae & informapauperis • Sandra Day O’Connor