Video encyclopedia

Supreme Court of the United States


The Supreme Court of the United States


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The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal and state court cases that involve a point of federal law, and original jurisdiction over a narrow range of cases, specifically "all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party". The Court holds the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution. It is also able to strike down presidential directives for violating either the Constitution or statutory law. 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 non-justiciable political questions.
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    • History 

    • Earliest beginnings through Marshall 

    • From Taney to Taft 

    • New Deal era 

    • Warren and Burger 

    • Rehnquist and Roberts 

    • Size of the court 

    • Appointment and confirmation 

    • Recess appointments 

    • Tenure 

    • Current justices 

    • Length of tenure 

    • Court demographics 

    • Retired justices 

    • Seniority and seating 

    • Judicial leanings 

    • Facilities 

    • Jurisdiction 

    • Justices as circuit justices 

    • Case selection 

    • Oral argument 

    • Decision 

    • Published opinions 

    • Citations to published opinions 

    • Institutional powers and constraints 

    • Law clerks 

    • Politicization of the Court 

    • Judicial activism 

    • Individual rights 

    • Power excess 

    • Courts are a poor check on executive power 

    • Federal versus state power 

    • Secretive proceedings 

    • Judicial interference in political disputes 

    • Not choosing enough cases to review 

    • Lifetime tenure 

    • Accepting gifts and outside income 

    • Landmark Supreme Court decisions (selection) 

    • Bibliography