Thursday, March 02, 2000

judicial branch

It is an exciting time to be studying government and politics. Since the writing of the Constitution in 1787, our government has been divided in 3 separate branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Our fore fathers developed these 3 separate branches in order to maintain a strong and fair national government while protecting the individual freedoms and to prevent the government from abusing its powers. In other words, to maintain check and balances in the government. For the purpose of this paper, I will be narrowing-in on the judicial branch which I consider a very essential and interesting part of the government.

Judges of the judicial branch are appointed only by the president and confirmed by the senate. This is unlike members of the executive and legislative branch who are elected by the people. The judicial branch is established under Article III of the Constitution; whereby, the structure of the judicial branch is formed by the Congress of the United States. The Constitution does not include the number supreme court justices, the number of justices is only specified by Congress. At present there are eight associate justices and one chief justice. The members of the Supreme Court and federal court have no term limits. They adjudicate until they retire, or die, or have a conviction by the Senate. This designated term is to protect the justices from the liability of political views and whims of the day and also allows them to interpret laws only according to the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and all their decisions are final and cannot be overturned by lower courts. The lower courts are 12 Courts of Appeals, 94 district courts in 50 states and federal courts that are located in larger cities. (lectlaw, 2010)(factmonster, 2010)(Cornell, 2010)

Federal courts take cases that involve the federal government and its officials or cases where state courts are inappropriate, such as bankruptcy cases. Federal courts may also hear cases where the citizens of the United States are affected by foreign relations or cases that involve laws created by the Constitution, Congress, treaties, and navigational waters depending on the case. (lectlaw, 2010)(factmonster, 2010)(Cornell, 2010)

Although the Supreme Court reviews a small number of cases each year, their main purpose is to oversee the United States court system. The supreme court interprets the law and decides if the law is relevant or not to a particular case; in which case, the supreme court rules whether something is constitutional or unconstitutional or whether or not something is permitted under the Constitution. Again, as previously mentioned, the Supreme Court ruling is final. As far as check and balances, if Congress does not like a Supreme Court decision, they can introduce a new piece of legislation; whereby, the process may start all over again. If a law that has been passed by Congress and people have considered it unfair, they may test it through the court system in order to rectify the law. (lectlaw, 2010)(factmonster, 2010)(Cornell, 2010)

The Supreme Court truly has a role in our government of the United States and guardian to our Constitution . It's been 223 years to be exact since our constitution has been written for the purpose of maintaining our fundamental values of liberty, order, equality , property, security, and freedom for all. It just like the pledge I spoke when I was young: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag / of the United States of America, / and to the Republic for which it stands, / one Nation under God, indivisible, / With Liberty and Justice for all." (lectlaw, 2010)(factmonster, 2010)(Cornell, 2010)


Anonymous. (2010). Article III Courts

Retrieved July 11, 2010, from Lectlaw website

Anonymous. (2010). Checks and Balances

Retrieved July 11, 2010, from factmonster website

Anonymous. (2010). Three Branches of Government

Retrieved July 11, 2010, from factmonster website

Anonymous. (2010). Current US Supreme Court Justices

Retrieved July 11, 2010, from Cornell University website

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