The Three Branches of Government


What is the Judicial Branch made up of? (And what is it?)

The judicial branch is made up of the Supreme Court, Lower Courts, Special Courts, and court support organizations. (But, it is mainly made up of the Supreme Court.) Well anyway, the judicial branch is the part of the U.S. government that interprets the law(s) and applies justice.

Responsibilities of the Supreme Court

Responsibilities of the Supreme Court are leading the Judicial branch of the (federal) government, interpreting the constitution, interpreting law, evaluating constitutionally challenged laws, settling disputes between states, and hearing cases involving the constitution and federal laws on appeal.

How do cases make it to the Supreme Court?

Cases make it to the Supreme Court two (maybe three) ways:

  1. If they are an Appeal (apply to a higher court for a reversal decision of a lower court.)
  2. Or if they are an Appellate Jurisdiction (a case from a lower court brought to a higher court to determine whether the lower court made any errors in applying the law.)
So really to recap most cases are brought to Supreme Court if the person who complained and brought it to the lower court complains some more about the lower courts' decision. Or if they are really rich, important, and if the issue really is a BIG one and a lot of people have had the same complaints then it would probably make it to Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Members

John G. Roberts (Chief Justice)

Associate Justices:

Antonin Scalia

Anthony M. Kennedy

Clarence Thomas

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Stephen G. Breyer

Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Sonia Sotomayor

Elena Kagan

Salaries & Term Lengths

The associative justices of the Supreme Court get paid $213,900 each year. While the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court gets paid $223,500 each year. They both have to serve....... FOR LIFE!!!! Or unless they get impeached or retire.

Supreme Court appointing process

The appointment of the Justices to the Supreme involves several steps that I will now explain to you. First, justices are appointed by the president of the U.S. Then they have to be approved/confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Next after a long debate and looking at government records of the person in question, they get the job!

Here are some pictures and videos about the Judicial Branch!

Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka

This is a very famous court case about segregation. I know that you have probably heard this story before but I'm going to tell you anyway. This case took place in Kansas in the year 1954 when segregation was still around. There were separate drinking fountains, restaurants, and even schools. Linda Brown was a student at the local, black school. It probably wasn't a really bad school as far as schools go. But it was a bad school for Linda, because the bus stop for school was very long, dangerous walk away from her house. So every morning and afternoon she had to make the same long, tiresome, dangerous, walk day after day. And there was even another school close by that she couldn't go to because it was an all white school. So finally Linda and her parents took it to court. They first took it to a state court that ruled that segregation in a public education was ok. Then they took the case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled differently than state court. They ruled that segregating children in public schools on the basis of race was unconstitutional under the 14th amendment. The 14th amendment gives citizenship any person born or naturalized in the United States, and also it forbids state from denying life, liberty, or property without a due process of law. Lastly the 14th amendment also forbids state from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. So in light of this amendment you can see why the Supreme Court declared a segregated school system unconstitutional. Because it just wasn't fair.

Plessy vs. Ferguson

This Supreme Court case originated in Louisiana ,in the year 1892. This case all began on a train car in early June 1892. Homer Plessy was a 30 year old male that was 7/8 Caucasian but was still required to sit in the colored section of the train car. So, one day he decided to test the 1890 law establishing white only train cars and got arrested. The judge at his trail was Massachusetts lawyer John Ferguson. Ferguson had recently declared the Separate Car Act "unconstitutional on trains that traveled through separate states." But in Plessy's trial he thought differently. He said that the state could choose to control the companies that operated only within Louisiana. So he found Plessy guilty of refusing to leave the white car. Then, Plessy took the case to the Supreme Court of Louisiana , which upheld Ferguson's decision. They thought that if you had at least 1drop of black blood running through your veins, you were black. So you had to follow the laws involving segregation or you would get in BIG trouble. Also it was a long time ago when people looked down on blacks, so they didn't always treat them fairly. Sadly though, law was law and wether you agreed with it or not you HAD to obey it. But, in 1896 the Supreme Court of the U.S. heard Plessy's case, and found the law......constitutional. So I guess they had the same veiws as the Louisiana Supreme Court about blacks. Oh yeah, Plessy paid the fine for the offense but, the case renewed black opposition to such laws.

Thanks for Reading!