Supreme Court of the United States • Supreme Court is the ultimate court of appeals in the United States. • The Supreme Court agrees to hear cases based the “rule of four”. If four justices agree, the Supreme Court will hear that case. • Their power to hear a case is discretionary and they do not have to give any reason for refusing to hear a case from their docket.
SCOTUS • If the Supreme Court chooses to not hear a case, the lower court ruling stands. • If they chose to not hear a case, they do not have to give any rationale for why they have chosen not to hear the case…but sometimes they do.
Session • First Monday of October each year and usually continues in session through June. • Receives petitions for approximately 5,000 cases a year. • A) Subject matter is not proper. • B) Subject matter is not sufficient to warrant a review of the full Court.
Session • Cases are heard with all the Justices sitting together in open court. • Each year the Supreme Court hears about 150 cases of national importance and 3/4ths of such decisions are announced in full published opinions. • Majority, Concurring, and Dissenting Opinions
Majority Opinion: 5 or more justices agree- this is the legal and final decision of the Court. Concurring Opinion: Can be written by another Justice that agrees with the majority opinion. Dissenting Opinion: Can be written by a Justice that disagrees with the majority decision.
U.S. Supreme Court • Located in back of the U.S. Capitol Building
John G. Roberts, Jr. • Chief Justice • Born in 1955 • J.D. Harvard Law • U.S. Court of Appeals for DC in 2003 (GWB) • George W. Bush nominated him C.J in 2005 [78-22] • Roman Catholic
Antonin Scalia • Associate Justice • Born in 1936 • LL.B Harvard • U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. in 1982 (Reagan) • Ronald Reagan nominated him in 1986 [98-0] • Roman Catholic
Anthony M. Kennedy • Associate Justice • Born in 1936 • LL.B Harvard • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit in 1975 (Ford) • Ronald Reagan nominated him in 1988 [97-0] • Roman Catholic
Clarence Thomas • Associate Justice • Born in 1948 • J.D. Yale • U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. in 1980 (GHWB) • George H.W. Bush nominated him in 1991 [52-48] • Roman Catholic
Ruth Bader Ginsburg • Associate Justice • Born in 1933 • LL.B Columbia • U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. in 1980 (Carter) • Bill Clinton nominated her in 1993 [96-3] • Jewish
Steven G. Breyer • Associate Justice • Born in 1938 • LL.B. Harvard • U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. in 1980 (Carter) • Bill Clinton nominated him in 1994 [87-9] • Jewish
Samuel A. Alito, Jr. • Associate Justice • Born in 1950 • J.D. Yale • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit in 1990 (GHWB) • George W. Bush nominated in 2006 [58-42] • Roman Catholic
Sonia Sotomayor • Associate Justice • Born in 1954 • J.D. Yale • U.S Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit in 1998 (Clinton) • Barack Obama nominated her in 2009 [68-31] • Roman Catholic
Elena Kagan • Associate Justice • Born in 1960 • J.D. Harvard • U.S. Court of Appeals (expired) • Solicitor General represents U.S. Government • Obama nominated her in 2010 [63-37] • Jewish
Justices of the Supreme Court • Nine Justices led by a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. His/her main duty is administrational and ceremonial. • There are no formal qualifications listed in the Constitution for a Supreme Court justice. • Nomination and confirmation can sometimes become very “political”. • Almost always…. • Republican Presidents nominate Republican candidates for the court • Democratic Presidents nominate Democratic candidates for the court
Federal system • 94 district courts: criminal and civil cases • 13 appeals courts: appellate • Justices – appointed for life.
SCOTUS Unit V