Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the U. S. Constitution in 1789, it has original jurisdiction over a narrow range of cases, including suits between two or more states and those involving ambassadors, it has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of federal constitutional or statutory law. The Court has the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution or an executive act for being unlawful. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction; the court may decide cases having political overtones, but it has ruled that it does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions. Each year it agrees to hear about one hundred to one hundred fifty of the more than seven thousand cases that it is asked to review.
According to federal statute, the court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, all of whom are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Once appointed, justices have lifetime tenure unless they resign, retire, or are removed from office; each justice has a single vote in deciding. When the chief justice is in the majority, he decides. In modern discourse, justices are categorized as having conservative, moderate, or liberal philosophies of law and of judicial interpretation. While a far greater number of cases in recent history have been decided unanimously, decisions in cases of the highest profile have come down to just one single vote, exemplifying the justices' alignment according to these categories; the Court meets in the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D. C, its law enforcement arm is the Supreme Court of the United States Police. It was while debating the division of powers between the legislative and executive departments that delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention established the parameters for the national judiciary.
Creating a "third branch" of government was a novel idea. Early on, some delegates argued that national laws could be enforced by state courts, while others, including James Madison, advocated for a national judicial authority consisting of various tribunals chosen by the national legislature, it was proposed that the judiciary should have a role in checking the executive power to veto or revise laws. In the end, the Framers compromised by sketching only a general outline of the judiciary, vesting federal judicial power in "one supreme Court, in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish", they delineated neither the exact powers and prerogatives of the Supreme Court nor the organization of the Template:Judicial branch as a whole. The 1st United States Congress provided the detailed organization of a federal judiciary through the Judiciary Act of 1789; the Supreme Court, the country's highest judicial tribunal, was to sit in the nation's Capital and would be composed of a chief justice and five associate justices.
The act divided the country into judicial districts, which were in turn organized into circuits. Justices were required to "ride circuit" and hold circuit court twice a year in their assigned judicial district. After signing the act into law, President George Washington nominated the following people to serve on the court: John Jay for chief justice and John Rutledge, William Cushing, Robert H. Harrison, James Wilson, John Blair Jr. as associate justices. All six were confirmed by the Senate on September 26, 1789. Harrison, declined to serve. In his place, Washington nominated James Iredell; the Supreme Court held its inaugural session from February 2 through February 10, 1790, at the Royal Exchange in New York City the U. S. capital. A second session was held there in August 1790; the earliest sessions of the court were devoted to organizational proceedings, as the first cases did not reach it until 1791. When the national capital moved to Philadelphia in 1790, the Supreme Court did so as well.
After meeting at Independence Hall, the Court established its chambers at City Hall. Under Chief Justices Jay and Ellsworth, the Court heard few cases; as the Court had only six members, every decision that it made by a majority was made by two-thirds. However, Congress has always allowed less than the court's full membership to make decisions, starting with a quorum of four justices in 1789; the court lacked a home of its own and had little prestige, a situation not helped by the era's highest-profile case, Chisholm v. Georgia, reversed within two years by the adoption of the Eleventh Amendment; the court's power and prestige grew during the Marshall Court. Under Marshall, the court established the power of judicial review over acts of Congress, including specifying itself as the supreme expositor of the Constitution and making several important constitutional rulings that gave shape and substance to the balance of power between the federal government and states; the Marshall Court ended the practice of each justice issuin
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, as such the highest-ranking judge of the federal judiciary. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution grants plenary power to the President of the United States to nominate, with the advice and consent of the United States Senate, appoint a chief justice, who serves until they resign, are impeached and convicted, retire, or die; the chief justice has significant influence in the selection of cases for review, presides when oral arguments are held, leads the discussion of cases among the justices. Additionally, when the Court renders an opinion, the chief justice, if in the majority, chooses who writes the Court's opinion; when deciding a case, the chief justice's vote counts no more than that of any associate justice. Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 of the Constitution designates the chief justice to preside during presidential impeachment trials in the Senate. While nowhere mandated, the presidential oath of office is administered by the Chief Justice.
Additionally, the chief justice serves as a spokesperson for the federal government's judicial branch and acts as a chief administrative officer for the federal courts. The Chief Justice presides over the Judicial Conference and, in that capacity, appoints the director and deputy director of the Administrative Office; the Chief Justice is an ex officio member of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution and, by custom, is elected chancellor of the board. Since the Supreme Court was established in 1789, 17 people have served as chief justice; the first was John Jay. The current chief justice is John Roberts. John Rutledge, Edward Douglass White, Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan Fiske Stone, William Rehnquist served as associate justice prior to becoming chief justice; the United States Constitution does not explicitly establish an office of Chief Justice, but presupposes its existence with a single reference in Article I, Section 3, Clause 6: "When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside."
Nothing more is said in the Constitution regarding the office. Article III, Section 1, which authorizes the establishment of the Supreme Court, refers to all members of the Court as "judges"; the Judiciary Act of 1789 created the distinctive titles of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1866, at the urging of Salmon P. Chase, Congress restyled the chief justice's title to the current Chief Justice of the United States; the first person whose Supreme Court commission contained the modified title was Melville Fuller in 1888. The associate justices' title was not altered in 1866, remains as created; the chief justice, like all federal judges, is nominated by the President and confirmed to office by the U. S. Senate. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution specifies that they "shall hold their Offices during good Behavior"; this language means that the appointments are for life, that, once in office, justices' tenure ends only when they die, resign, or are removed from office through the impeachment process.
Since 1789, 15 presidents have made a total of 22 official nominations to the position. The salary of the chief justice is set by Congress; the practice of appointing an individual to serve as chief justice is grounded in tradition. There is no specific constitutional prohibition against using another method to select the chief justice from among those justices properly appointed and confirmed to the Supreme Court. Constitutional law scholar Todd Pettys has proposed that presidential appointment of chief justices should be done away with, replaced by a process that permits the Justices to select their own chief justice. Three incumbent associate justices have been nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate as chief justice: Edward Douglass White in 1910, Harlan Fiske Stone in 1941, William Rehnquist in 1986. A fourth, Abe Fortas, was not confirmed; as an associate justice does not have to resign his or her seat on the Court in order to be nominated as chief justice, Fortas remained an associate justice.
When associate justice William Cushing was nominated and confirmed as chief justice in January 1796, but declined the office, he too remained on the Court. Two former associate justices subsequently returned to service on the Court as chief justice. John Rutledge was the first. President Washington gave him a recess appointment in 1795. However, his subsequent nomination to the office was not confirmed by the Senate, he left office and the Court. In 1933, former associate justice Charles Evans Hughes was confirmed as chief justice. Additionally, in December 1800, former chief justice John Jay was nominated and confirmed to the position a second time, but declined it, opening the way for the appointment of John Marshall. Along with his general responsibilities as a member of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice has several unique duties to fulfill. Article I, section 3 of the U. S. Constitution stipulates that the Chief Justice shall preside over impeachment trials of the President of the United States in the U.
S. Senate. Two Chief Justices, Salmon P. Chase and William Rehnquist, have presided over the trial in the Senate that follows an impeachment of the president – Chase in 1868 over the proceedings against President Andrew Johnson and Rehnquist in
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is the title of all members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States. The number of associate justices is eight, as set by the Judiciary Act of 1869. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution grants plenary power to the president to nominate, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint justices to the Supreme Court. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution grants life tenure to associate justices, all other federal judges, which ends only when a justice dies, resigns, or is removed from office by impeachment; each Supreme Court justice has a single vote in deciding. However, the Chief Justice -- when in the majority -- decides the court's opinion. Otherwise, the senior justice in the majority assigns the writing of a decision. Furthermore, the chief justice leads the discussion of the case among the justices; the chief justice has certain administrative responsibilities that the other justices do not and is paid more.
Associate justices have seniority by order of appointment, although the chief justice is always considered to be the most senior. If two justices are appointed on the same day, the older is designated the senior justice of the two; the senior associate justice is Clarence Thomas. By tradition, when the justices are in conference deliberating the outcome of cases before the Supreme Court, the justices state their views in order of seniority; the senior associate justice is tasked with carrying out the chief justices's duties when he is unable to, or if that office is vacant. Associate justices were styled "Mr. Justice" in court opinions and other writings; the title was shortened to "Justice" in 1980, a year before Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female justice. There are eight associate justices on the Supreme Court; the justices, ordered by seniority, are: An associate justice who leaves the Supreme Court after attaining the age and meeting the service requirements prescribed by federal statute may retire rather than resign.
After retirement, they keep their title, by custom may keep a set of chambers in the Supreme Court building, employ law clerks. The names of retired associate justices continue to appear alongside those of the active justices in the bound volumes of Supreme Court decisions. Federal statute provides that retired Supreme Court justices may serve—if designated and assigned by the chief justice—on panels of the U. S. courts of appeals, or on the U. S. district courts. Retired justices are not, authorized to take part in the consideration or decision of any cases before the Supreme Court. When, after his retirement, William O. Douglas attempted to take a more active role than was customary, maintaining that it was his prerogative to do so because of his senior status, he was rebuffed by Chief Justice Warren Burger and admonished by the whole Court. There are four living retired associate justices at the present time: Sandra Day O'Connor, retired January 31, 2006. Both O'Connor and Souter serve on panels of the Courts of Appeals of various circuits.
Stevens and Kennedy have not performed any judicial duties. Since the Supreme Court was established in 1789, the following 102 persons have served as an associate justice: Associate Justice Historic Supreme Court Decisions – by Justice, Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School Supreme Court of the United States
United States Reports
The United States Reports are the official record of the rulings, case tables, in alphabetical order both by the name of the petitioner and by the name of the respondent, other proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United States. United States Reports, once printed and bound, are the final version of court opinions and cannot be changed. Opinions of the court in each case are prepended with a headnote prepared by the Reporter of Decisions, any concurring or dissenting opinions are published sequentially; the Court's Publication Office oversees the binding and publication of the volumes of United States Reports, although the actual printing and publication are performed by private firms under contract with the United States Government Publishing Office. For lawyers, citations to United States Reports are the standard reference for Supreme Court decisions. Following The Bluebook, a accepted citation protocol, the case Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, for example, would be cited as: Brown v. Bd. of Educ.
347 U. S. 483. This citation indicates that the decision of the Court in the case entitled Brown v. Board of Education, as abbreviated in Bluebook style, was decided in 1954 and can be found in volume 347 of the United States Reports starting on page 483; the early volumes of the United States Reports were published by the individual Supreme Court Reporters. As was the practice in England, the reports were designated by the names of the reporters who compiled them: Dallas's Reports, Cranch's Reports, etc; the decisions appearing in the entire first volume and most of the second volume of United States Reports are not decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Instead, they are decisions from various Pennsylvania courts, dating from the colonial period and the first decade after Independence. Alexander Dallas, a lawyer and journalist, of Philadelphia, had been in the business of reporting these cases for newspapers and periodicals, he subsequently began compiling his case reports in a bound volume, which he called Reports of cases ruled and adjudged in the courts of Pennsylvania and since the Revolution.
This would come to be known as the first volume of Dallas Reports. When the United States Supreme Court, along with the rest of the new Federal Government moved, in 1791, from New York City to the nation's temporary capital in Philadelphia, Dallas was appointed the Supreme Court's first unofficial, unpaid, Supreme Court Reporter. Dallas continued to publish Pennsylvania decisions in a second volume of his Reports; when the Supreme Court began hearing cases, he added those cases to his reports, starting towards the end of the second volume, 2 Dallas Reports, with West v. Barnes. Dallas went on to publish a total of four volumes of decisions during his tenure as Reporter; when the Supreme Court moved to Washington, D. C. in 1800, Dallas remained in Philadelphia, William Cranch took over as unofficial reporter of decisions. In 1817, Congress made the Reporter of Decisions an official, salaried position, although the publication of the Reports remained a private enterprise for the reporter's personal gain.
The reports themselves were the subject of an early copyright case, Wheaton v. Peters, in which former reporter Henry Wheaton sued current reporter Richard Peters for reprinting cases from Wheaton's Reports in abridged form. In 1874, the U. S. government began creating the United States Reports. The earlier, private reports were retroactively numbered volumes 1–90 of the United States Reports, starting from the first volume of Dallas Reports. Therefore, decisions appearing in these early reports have dual citation forms: one for the volume number of the United States Reports. For example, the complete citation to McCulloch v. Maryland is 17 U. S. 316. Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States Lists of United States Supreme Court cases by volume National Reporter System United States Supreme Court: Information About Opinions United States Supreme Court: Bound Volumes – Lists of PDFs Torrents of United States Reports 502–550
Appointment and confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States
The appointment and confirmation of Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States involves several steps set forth by the United States Constitution, which have been further refined and developed by decades of tradition. Candidates are nominated by the President of the United States and must face a series of hearings in which both the nominee and other witnesses make statements and answer questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which can vote to send the nomination to the full United States Senate. Confirmation by the Senate allows the President to formally appoint the candidate to the court. Senate cloture rules required a two-thirds affirmative vote to advance nominations to a vote. In November 2013, the then-Democratic Senate majority eliminated the filibuster for executive branch nominees and judicial nominees except for Supreme Court nominees by invoking the so-called nuclear option. In April 2017, the Republican Senate majority applied the nuclear option to Supreme Court nominations as well, enabling the nominations of Trump nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to proceed to a vote.
Article Two of the United States Constitution requires the President of the United States to nominate Supreme Court Justices and, with Senate confirmation, requires Justices to be appointed. This was for the division of power between the President and Senate by the founders, who wrote: he shall nominate, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint... Judges of the supreme Court... Upon the election of a new President, incoming White House staff prepare profiles of possible candidates for the Supreme Court, considering not only judges but politicians and other individuals whom they consider appropriate for the role. Besides considering national figures whose views are well-known, they consider others who are less recognized, they go through published rulings, articles and other background material to get an idea of candidates' values and views on constitutional issues. Age, race, gender and likelihood of confirmation are factored into considerations. Once a Supreme Court vacancy opens, the President discusses the candidates with advisors.
Senators call the President with suggestions. In turn, the White House lobbies key senators for their votes. After a first choice is decided, the candidate is contacted and called on by the President to serve on the highest court. Staffers send a vetting form for the candidate to fill out, they visit the candidate to go over tax payments to domestic help. A formal FBI background check is conducted. Candidates whom the President has never met are interviewed by White House officials before being sent to the White House to be interviewed in person by the President. After making a final decision, the President calls the candidate, told to prepare a statement for an appearance in front of the national press for the President's formal announcement; the nominee meets with senators and prepares for confirmation hearings. Most Presidents nominate individuals. In many cases, however, a Justice's decisions may be contrary to what the nominating President anticipated. A famous instance was Chief Justice Earl Warren.
Eisenhower called the appointment "the biggest damn fool mistake I made". Another Justice whose decisions ran contrary to what was believed to be his ideology was David Souter, nominated to the high court in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush. Many pundits and politicians at the time expected Souter to be a conservative; because the Constitution does not set any qualifications for service as a Justice, the President may nominate any individual to serve on the Court. However, that person must receive the confirmation of the Senate. In modern times, the confirmation process has attracted considerable attention from special-interest groups, many of which lobby senators to confirm or to reject a nominee, depending on whether the nominee's track record aligns with the group's views; the Senate Judiciary Committee conducts hearings, questioning nominees to determine their suitability. By convention, nominees avoid revealing too much about their views on potential cases that may come before the Court.
At the close of confirmation hearings, the Committee votes on whether the nomination should go to the full Senate with a positive, negative or neutral report. The Committee's practice of interviewing nominees is recent, beginning with Harlan Fiske Stone in 1925; some western senators were concerned with his links to Wall Street and expressed their opposition when Stone was nominated. Stone proposed what was the novelty of appearing before the Judiciary Committee to answer questions; the second nominee to appear before the Committee was Felix Frankfurter, who only addressed what he considered to be slanderous allegations against him. The modern practice of the Committee questioning nominees on their judicial views began with the nomination of John Marshall Harlan II in 1955. Once the Committee reports out the nomination, the whole Senate considers it. A simple majority vote is required to reject a nominee. Prior to 2017, a successfu
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti