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The United States Government: The Supreme Court: About the Supreme Court

Overview of the Supreme Court, its function, history, print and online resources.

The United States Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest federal court of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution in 1789, it has ultimate (and largely discretionary) appellate jurisdiction over all federal courts and over state court cases involving issues of federal law, plus original jurisdiction over a small range of cases. In the legal system of the United States, the Supreme Court is the final interpreter of federal constitutional law, although it may only act within the context of a case in which it has jurisdiction.
The Court normally consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Once appointed, justices have life tenure unless they resign, retire, or are removed after impeachment (though no justice has ever been removed). In modern discourse, the justices are often categorized as having conservative, moderate, or liberal philosophies of law and of judicial interpretation. Each justice has one vote, and while many cases are decided unanimously, the highest profile cases often expose ideological beliefs that track with those philosophical or political categories. The Court meets in the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court on C-SPAN

A collection of video resources for the Supreme Court, including current oral arguments, featured interviews with indivudual justices, overviews on the court and background information on each of the Supreme Court justices.


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