Judicial Branch

Who is in it?

  • The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Justices include:

  • Chief Justice John G. Roberts
  • Justice Clarence Thomas
  • Justice Antonin Scalia
  • Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor
  • Justice Stephen G. Breyer
  • Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
  • Justice Elena Kagan

"The Current Court." The Supreme Court Historical Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

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Supreme Court

"5 More Recent Supreme Court Decisions You Should Know About." TGC. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

How do you become a member?

1: Presidential Nomination
  • The President nominates someone to become a Supreme Court Justice
  • He consults with advisers before making his decision

2: Special Review

  • The President submits his nomination to the Senate for a vote
  • The Judiciary Committee questions the nominee about his/her experience, personality, and opinions on major legal and political issues
  • The President must choose another nominee if the majority of the Judiciary Committee votes against the nominee

3: The Senate Votes

  • The Senate debates the nomination if the Judiciary Committee approves the nominee
  • Senators look very closely at a nominee's background because the nominee is a Justice for life if elected.

4: Taking a Seat

  • The nominee is confirmed if he/she gets more than half the votes in the Senate
  • The nominee takes a sacred oath to uphold the Constitution

"Road to the Supreme Court." Road to the Supreme Court. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

What do they do?

  • The Constitution gives them the power to check the actions of the President and Congress
  • The Supreme Court is the final judge in cases involving laws of Congress and the Constitution
  • Of the 5,000 requests for hearing, the Court will only agree to hear fewer than 150
  • The ruling of the lower court stands if the Court decides not to hear the case
  • When the officer of the Court bangs his gavel, the people in the courtroom stand and the nine justices walk through a red curtain and sit in nine tall chairs
  • The justices listen to the lawyers from their chairs and interrupt to ask the lawyers questions
  • The Chief Justice bangs his gavel, rises from his seat, and leads all the other justices out of the courtroom
  • The justices meet around a large table in a locked, guarded room
  • The Supreme Court has used the power to review the laws and judge whether they were allowed under the Constitution

"The Role of the Supreme Court | Scholastic.com." Scholastic Teachers. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

What types of cases do they hear?

  • Appellate Jurisdiction
  • Original Jurisdiction

examples of appellate jurisdiction:

Appellate jurisdiction is the power of a higher court to review and change decisions made by lower courts. Some examples of this are...

  • A school district is accused of racial discrimination
  • A person that is charged with murder claims that the death penalty is unconstitutional
  • A citizen sues to prevent state funds from being used by religious schools

examples of original jurisdiction:

Original jurisdiction is the power to hear a case for the first time. Some examples of this are...

  • New York and New Jersey dispute the rights of navigation on the Hudson River
  • A Russian diplomat claims certain rights under a new treaty