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The US Supreme Court Building (Photo: US Supreme Court)

Established by the United States Constitution, the U.S Supreme Court began to take shape with the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789 and has enjoyed a rich history since its first assembly in 1790. The Supreme Court is deeply tied to its traditions: Of the federal government’s three branches, the Court bears the closest resemblance to its original form – a 225 year old legacy.

How is the term "Supreme Court" understood worldwide?

The supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of courts in many legal jurisdictions, according to Dictionary.com. Other descriptions for such courts include the court of last resort, apex court, and the high (or final) court of appeal. Broadly speaking, the decisions of a supreme court are not subject to further review by any other court.

However, not all highest courts are named as such. Civil law states tend not to have a single highest court. Additionally, the highest court in some jurisdictions is not named the "Supreme Court", for example, the High Court of Australia. On the other hand, in some places the court named the "Supreme Court" is not in fact the highest court; examples include the New York Supreme Court, the supreme courts of several Canadian provinces/territories, and the former Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales and Supreme Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland, which is all subordinate to higher courts of appeal.

Some countries with a federal system of government may have both a federal supreme court and supreme courts for each member state, with the former having jurisdiction over the latter only to the extent that the federal constitution extends federal law over state law. However, other federations, such as Canada, may have a supreme court of general jurisdiction, able to decide any question of law.

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Mr. John Roberts is the current Chief Justice of US Supreme Court. (Photo: USA News)

The US Supreme Court - How was it formed?

The idea of a supreme court owes much to the Constitution of the United States, which highlights the idea of "division of powers". In the US, the Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.

Established by the United States Constitution, the Supreme Court began to take shape with the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789 and has enjoyed a rich history since its first assembly in 1790. The Supreme Court was set to first assemble on February 1, 1790, at the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City. But due to some justices’ transportation issues, the meeting had to be postponed until the next day. The Supreme Court Building, located at One First Street, NE, in Washington, DC, is the permanent home of the Court.

About the the U.S Supreme Court: "EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW"

These words, written above the main entrance to the Supreme Court Building, express the ultimate responsibility of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution.

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The Supreme Court as composed from October 6, 2018, to September 18, 2020. (Photo: US Supreme Court)

How does US Supreme Court work?

As stated by its official website, the Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and such number of Associate Justices as may be fixed by Congress. The number of Associate Justices is currently fixed at eight. Power to nominate the Justices is vested in the President of the United States, and appointments are made with the advice and consent of the Senate. The currently-in-office Chief Justice of the United States is Mr. John Roberts, a 65-year-old American lawyer and jurist.

The highest judicial officer in the nation, the chief justice is responsible for presiding over the Supreme Court and setting the agenda for the justices’ weekly meetings. In cases where the chief justice is a member of the majority opinion, justice has the authority to assign who will write the court’s opinion. The chief justice is required to sit on the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. The chief justice also presides over trials of impeachment against the President of the United States in the U.S. Senate, as was the case with President Andrew Johnson and President Bill Clinton, according to History.com.

The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C. The court conducts its annual term from the first Monday of October until each summer, usually ending in late June. Unlike all other federal judges, the justices of the Supreme Court are not subject to a code of ethical conduct.

How Supreme Court justices selected?

Supreme Court “justices” are selected by the President and confirmed “with the advice and consent” of the Senate and “shall hold their Offices during good Behavior.” Judges may hold their position for the rest of their lives, but many resign or retire earlier. They may also be removed by impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate. Throughout history, fourteen federal judges have been impeached due to alleged wrongdoing. One exception to the lifetime appointment is for magistrate judges, which are selected by district judges and serve a specified term, said Office of the US Attorneys.

The Constitution sets no requirements for Supreme Court justices, though all current members of the court are lawyers and most have served as circuit court judges. Justices are also often former law professors. The chief justice acts as the administrator of the court and is chosen by the President and approved by Congress when the position is vacant.

Like the Associate Justices, the Chief Justice is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. There is no requirement that the Chief Justice serves as an Associate Justice, but 5 of the 17 Chief Justices have served on the Court as Associate Justices prior to becoming Chief Justice.

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Trump asks Supreme Court to invalidate millions of votes in battleground states. (Photo: Business Standard)

What is Supreme Court's Position in the US federal courts system?

The federal court system has three main levels: district courts (the trial court), circuit courts which are the first level of appeal, and the Supreme Court of the United States, the final level of appeal in the federal system. There are 94 district courts, 13 circuit courts, and one Supreme Court throughout the country, according to the website of US Courts.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. Article III of the U.S. Constitution created the Supreme Court and authorized Congress to pass laws establishing a system of lower courts. In the federal court system’s present form, 94 district level trial courts and 13 courts of appeals sit below the Supreme Court.

Circuit Courts

Once the federal district court has decided a case, the case can be appealed to a United States court of appeal. There are twelve federal circuits that divide the country into different regions. Each circuit court has multiple judges, ranging from six on the First Circuit to twenty-nine on the Ninth Circuit. Circuit court judges are appointed for life by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

Any case may be appealed to the circuit court once the district court has finalized a decision. Appeals to circuit courts are first heard by a panel, consisting of three circuit court judges. Parties file “briefs” to the court, arguing why the trial court’s decision should be “affirmed” or “reversed.” After the briefs are filed, the court will schedule “oral argument” in which the lawyers come before the court to make their arguments and answer the judges’ questions.

District Courts

The nation’s 94 district or trial courts are called U.S. District Courts. District courts resolve disputes by determining the facts and applying legal principles to decide who is right. Trial courts include the district judge who tries the case and a jury that decides the case. Magistrate judges assist district judges in preparing cases for trial. They may also conduct trials in misdemeanor cases.

There is at least one district court in each state, and the District of Columbia. Each district includes a U.S. bankruptcy court as a unit of the district court. Four territories of the United States have U.S. district courts that hear federal cases, including bankruptcy cases: Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Address The Supreme Court of the United States

One First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20543

Phone: 202-479-3000

Website: https://www.supremecourt.gov/

Visiting The Supreme Court of the United States

Out of concern for the health and safety of the public and Supreme Court employees, the Supreme Court Building will be closed to the public until further notice. The Building will remain open for official business. All public lectures and visitor programs are temporarily suspended.

Trump asks the Supreme Court to invalidate millions of votes in battleground states

President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to block millions of votes from four battleground states that voted for President-elect Joe Biden. The move from Trump comes just a day after the high court denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to block certification of the commonwealth's election results. The one-line order was issued with no noted dissents or comments from any of the nine justices.

He asks the court to block the states from using "constitutionally infirm 2020 election results" unless the legislatures of the states "review the 2020 election results", CNN quoted. He stressed that if any of the states have "already appointed electors to the electoral college using the 2020 election results," the legislatures have the authority to appoint "a new set of electors."

Up to the present, 18 states have joined the case. The Supreme Court has so far declined to take up election-related disputes. On Tuesday, the Court rejected an attempt by Pennsylvania Republicans to overturn that state’s results.

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