Members • 9 justices • Serve for life • Lead by the Chief Justice • Appointed by the President, approved by the Senate
Original Jurisdiction States Ambassadors Appellate Jurisdiction Court of Appeals State Supreme Courts Armed Forces Appeals Federal Circuit Appeals Jurisdiction(power to hear a case)
Hearing a Case • Most cases appealed to the Supreme Court are not heard (4/9 justices needed) • Writ or Certiorari – ordering court records • Certificate – clarification for a lower court • Arguments • Oral arguments (usually a 30 minute limit) • Briefs (written and sent prior to oral argument) • Making a decision – Conference • Chief Justice presides • Each justice explains view, all debate and vote • Opinions • Majority Opinion – announces the decision • Concurring Opinion – to add or emphasize the majority opinion • Dissenting Opinion – Explains opinions not agreeing with majority opinion
Judicial Review • Power of the court to declare actions unconstitutional • Marbury v. Madison • On the eve of leaving office, John Adams appoints William Marbury JOP in D.C. Incoming Secretary of State, James Madison is told by incoming President, Thomas Jefferson, not to honor it. Angered, Marbury wants the Supreme Court to hear the case under original jurisdiction and bases this on a previous law, the Judiciary Act of 1789. The Supreme Court refuses to hear the case and voids the section of the law, declaring it unconstitutional.