Supreme Court Research
The Supreme Court is the highest in the United States. It is the “final court of appeal and the expositor of the U.S. Constitution”. The United States Supreme Court is now located in Washington D.C. There are presently nine justices that sit upon the court. The court was created by the Constitution in Article 3 of 1787 to act in cases that conflicted with the Constitutional laws and with treaties of foreign affairs. The U.S. Supreme Court has a process for which cases are heard and to which Supreme Court judges are selected.
There are two main purposes of the United States Supreme Court. The first purpose of the Supreme Court is to interpret the acts of Congress. This is quite similar to the acts of the lower state courts. The court interprets the law as cases are brought to them. The other function is to determine whether federal and state statutes conform to the Constitution. However the rulings of the Court can be changed if the laws of the Constitution are amended or the opinions are modified later. The other purposes are to involve themselves in foreign affairs that deal with treaties. And they also deal with foreign policy making.
There are two ways a case can be heard by the Supreme Court. The first way is to have the highest court of the state rules that the case is rule unconstitutional. The party then files for an appeal to the Supreme Court. However not all appeals are excepted by the Supreme Court. The second way is to have a writ of certiorari issued to the party that is petitioned for a review. The Court only sees a fraction of the cases that are brought to them. So if the writ of certiorari is denied the lower court’s ruling stands.
The President of the United States selects the Supreme Court Chief Justices and Associate Justices. Since 1869 there were nine justices that sat on the bench. However though in 1789 when the Court began it started out with six members. Then in 1807 they appointed 8 justices to the court. It changed to nine justices in 1837 and then there were 10 in 1866. The justices stay on the bench until his tenure based on good behavior. A justice may be impeached however there has only been one justice who has done so. The nine current justices that are serving are Chief justice William H. Rehnquist, he is 73, serving his 26th year on the bench, and his 12th as Chief Justice, and Justice John Paul Stevens, who was appointed by President Gerald Ford. Then there are the appointees of President Reagan, Sandra Day O’Connor, the first women Justice to serve on the bench, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony M. Kennedy. President Bush appointed Justice David H. Souter. I am not sure who appointed Justice Clarence Thomas, who was involved in a recent scandal. The last recently appointed by President Clinton are Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.
A case recently being heard is about the FDA regulating tobacco. The 5 to 4 ruled that the FDA had no control over the tobacco industry. The politically argued issue was a long battle that had been quite costly to the tobacco companies. The issued really concerned youth smoking. The issue of youth smoking concerned both sides of the parties. Some people within the Tobacco Company even thought it to be a good idea that the FDA does play a part in the industry, but with regulating from congress. However the majority of the industry were very satisfied with the outcome of the court’s decision.
The Supreme Court has been the highest in the Unites States since 1789. It is the court of lasts resorts, the court of final appeal, and the court that defines the constitutional rights of all people, all “man”. Without the Supreme Court our true rights for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness cannot be attained. I learned that the justice tries its best to make possible that every person is guaranteed freedom.