The Supreme Court
Principles of the Supreme Court
Cannot seek out an issue to bring to court,
they must wait for the lawsuit concerning the
issue to come to them.
Role of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is the final judge in all
cases involving laws of Congress, and the
highest law of all-the Constitution.
The Supreme Court is far from all powerful,
due to the checks and balances system from
the Executive and Legislative Branches.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
John Roberts, Chief Justice, Oct. 2005
Samuel Alito, Feb. 2006
Sonia Sotomayor, May 2009
Marbury v. Madison, 1803
– Established the power of the court to review acts
(laws) of Congress known as Judicial Review.
– The 1st time the Supreme Court declared
William Marbury James Madison John Marshall
Dred Scott v. Sanford, 1857
-Ruled that all Africans, whether slaves or not, were
not protected by the Constitution, and could never
be citizens of the United States.
-Because slaves were not citizen, they could not
sue in court
-Since slaves were considered private property,
they could not be taken away from their owner
without due process.
Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896
Justified Jim Crow laws, saying that the 14th
amendment allowed for separate facilities for
different races as long as they were equal.
– This doctrine was used for the next 50 years to justify
Brown v. Board of Education, 1954
Overturned the earlier ruling of Plessy v.
Decision was that “separate educational
facilities are inherently unequal.
14th amendment was being violated
Victory paved the way for integration and the
Civil Rights’ Movement
Engel v. Vitale, 1962
Supreme Court determined that it is
unconstitutional for state officials to compose
an official school prayer and require its
recitation in public schools.
Gideon v. Wainwright, 1963
Ruled that state courts are required under
the 6th amendment to provide counsel in
criminal cases for defendants who are
unable to afford their own attorneys
Miranda v. Arizona, 1966
In this case the Supreme Court ruled that the 5th
Amendment’s protection from self-incrimination
requires that suspects be clearly informed of their
rights before they are questioned.
Jurisdiction- authority to hear certain cases
Original Jurisdiction- the court in which the
case is originally tried.
– The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction for:
Ambassadors & other representatives
US government or its offices
State and foreign country citizens
Appellate Jurisdiction- court of appeals.
Concurrent Jurisdiction- when both state and
federal courts have jurisdiction.
Selection of Federal Judges
Article 2, section 2
No qualifications listed in the constitution
Appointed by President, they are usually of
the same political party.
– He submits his choice to the senators from the
candidate’s state. This is called Senatorial