United States Supreme Court Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is United States Supreme Court?
The United States Supreme Court is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. It is a court of last resort and has original jurisdiction over a small range of cases, as well as appellate jurisdiction over cases from other federal courts and state supreme courts. It was established by Article Three of the United States Constitution in 1789, and has since been expanded to include nine justices who are appointed by the President with Senate approval.The Supreme Court interprets and applies laws passed by Congress and regulations issued by federal agencies. Its decisions are binding on all lower courts, including state courts. The court’s interpretations can be overturned only if two-thirds or more of both houses of Congress vote to do so or if an amendment to the Constitution is proposed and ratified by three-fourths or more of state legislatures.Each year, thousands of petitions for review are filed with the Supreme Court, but only a fraction make it onto its docketusually fewer than one hundred cases per year out of up to seven thousand petitions received (as high as eight thousand in some recent years). The U.S. Supreme Court decides which cases it will review based on criteria such as whether a case raises an important legal issue that needs clarification; whether there is disagreement among lower-court decisions; or whether a case involves questions about constitutional interpretation that have never been addressed before by any court. The justices usually hear oral arguments from attorneys representing both sides before deciding each case, although some cases are decided without hearing arguments (this occurs when all parties agree on a particular outcome). In addition to deciding controversies brought forth within its jurisdiction, the court also issues advisory opinions upon request from governmental bodies seeking guidance in interpretation or enforcement of laws and regulations at both federal and state levels. Given its broad authority over matters affecting Americans’ daily livesincluding civil rights, privacy rights, economic regulationthe Supreme Court plays an especially important role in our constitutional system of government because it serves as the ultimate guardian for our fundamental freedoms (Urofsky v Schmidt 2007).