TaneshaBrenno- The Supreme Court

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ASSIGNMENT: THE SUPREME COURT TANESHA BRENNO SARA ROGERS 1-17-11

The Role and Importance of the Supreme Court Introduction and Purpose The main functions of Supreme Courts are to: Settle disputes between States, hear appeals from state and Federal courts, and to determine the constitutionality of federal laws. The Supreme Court of the United States is considered the High Court of judicial powers in acting in a "judicial review manner in overturning laws and executive acts unconstitutional" (Mendelson, 1992, p. 775). With the words, "Equal Justice Under Law" written prominently above the main doors of the Supreme Court located in Washington, D.C., the Supreme Court Building is an architectural design symbolic of its Constitutional enforcement of legal equality for all. From its marble figures that flank the main steps to its bronze flagpole with symbolic designs and the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water and the bronze doors that open into its majestic entry, the Supreme Court remains the core landmark symbolizing the ultimate American justice system. The marble figures consisting of a female figure symbolizing the "Contemplation of Justice," and a male figure representing "The Guardian or Authority of Law," (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/about/courtbuilding.pdf) pp. 1, show equality, but inside the building lays an interesting equality in structure and personnel representing the Justices and the American people who are being served in the most public legal forum: the Supreme Court. Structure and Personnel The Supreme Court is comprised of the following Chief Justice and Associate Justices: • • • • •


Chief Justice: John G. Roberts Jr. Associate Justice: John P. Stevens Associate Justice: Anthony M. Kennedy Associate Justice: Clarence Thomas Associate Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Associate Justice: Stephen G. Breyer Associate Justice: Samuel A. Alito Jr. Associate Justice: Sonia Sotomayor Retired Justice: Sandra Day O'Connor Retired Justice: David H. Souter (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/about/briefoverview.pdf%20pp%201-2.







The Supreme Court nominations are vested by the President of the United States and final appointment is made by the Senate. There are a number of Officers that work to maintain the daily functioning of the Supreme Court and those positions range from Counselor to the Chief Justice to Public Information Officer. The Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life barring retirement, death, resignation or criminal impeachment from office.

Process Lawyers who have been granted a Supreme Court venue to appeal court cases are given thirty minutes to present their arguments and during each session the Justices can review the decisions in up to 24 cases (http://www/supremecourtus.gov/about/procedures.pdf%20p.1). The Justices use the Constitution in directing and supporting final decision-making in the cases being appealed. Like any other job, the Justices have recesses and take time off. During the regular weekday, the schedule consists of public sessions with none being held the last two days of the week. The Justices have conference times to review cases arguments and vote on which case petitions will be heard during session. Cases that have been rejected for review are publically reported as an "order list" along with additional public information on reviews in cases and appeals. Discretional Powers As an appellate court of final decisions and appeals, the Supreme Court publishes a Supreme Court calendar announcing its current term with color codes of red, blue and green to signify argument, non-argument and conference days (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/oral_arguments/09TermCourtCalendar.pdf%20p.%201). The scope of the Supreme Court lies in its use of the Constitution as the backbone in applying the rules of law in its final reviews, decisions and case arguments. For the American people, the Supreme Court represents an ultimate democracy in being legally protected from laws and judgments that are unconstitutional. Within the power of judicial review, the Supreme Court has been given "a crucial responsibility in assuring protection of individual rights, as well in maintaining a "living Constitution" whose broad provisions are continually applied to complicated new situations" (http://www/supremecourtus.gov/about/courtconstitutionalinterpretation.pdf%20p.1). There are both positives and negatives in the Supreme Court structure and decisionmaking in conferring legal affirmations. The gender diversity still leans towards a male power base and strength in final decision-making. However, the positive existence of having a Supreme Court is that there is a promise of equal protection and justice under the law which has continued its consistency in that regard for hundreds of years. Conclusion The Supreme Court is an American icon symbolizing the balance of legal powers and jurisdictions. Its inherent constitutional governance has navigated an equitable judicial review in upholding the dictates of the American Constitution. The balance in legal constraint that the Supreme Court adheres to has created strong governance for the American people being served. The United States and its Supreme Court are unique like no other government structure in the global world in actualizing the Constitution to preserve the democracy of the legal rights of America just as its fore-fathers did two centuries ago.

REFRENCES Mendelson, W. (1992). Separation of powers. In Hall, K.L. "The oxford companion to the Supreme Court of the United States." Oxford University Press. P. 775. Supreme Court Publications. As Retrieved from the Internet, September 18, 2009. "A Brief overview of the Supreme Court." http://www.supremecourtus.gov/about/briefoverview.pdf. pp. 1-2.

Supreme Court Publications. As Retrieved from the Internet, September 18, 2009. The Supreme Court." http://www.supremecourtus.gov/about/courtbuilding.pdf) p.1

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