Supreme Court of the United States (Federal Agency Profiles)
ESTABLISHED: February 2, 1790
ADDRESS: United States Supreme Court Bldg. 1 First St. NE Washington, DC 20543
PHONE: (202) 479-3000
FAX: (202) 479-3388
CHIEF JUSTICE: William H. Rehnquist
WHAT IS ITS MISSION?
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States, with ultimate jurisdiction over all cases arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States. As the institution in which all of the nation's judicial power is vested, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in all cases involving ambassadors, public ministers, and counsels, and those arising from disputes between states. Original jurisdiction simply means that such cases are first argued in front of the Supreme Court. The Court's appellate jurisdiction (the right to review decisions of lower courts) is determined by Congress, under the legislature's constitutional authority.
HOW IS IT STRUCTURED?
The Supreme Court resides at the top of a federal court system that includes 14 courts of appeals, 94 district courts, and a few special courts. The...
(The entire section is 7023 words.)
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Supreme Court of the United States (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest federal court. Although it was explicitly recognized in Article III of the Constitution, it was not formally established until passage of the JUDICIARY ACT OF 1789 (1 Stat. 73) and was not organized until 1790. Though its size and jurisdiction have changed over time, the Supreme Court has fulfilled its two main functions: acting as the final interpreter of state and federal law and establishing procedural rules for the federal courts.
The Supreme Court, sometimes called the High Court, is comprised of a chief justice and eight associate justices. Article III provides that the justices of the Court are to be appointed by the president of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate. Once appointed, a justice may not be removed from office except by congressional IMPEACHMENT. Because of this provision, many justices have remained on the bench into their eighties.
In 1789 the Court initially consisted of six members, but membership was increased to seven in 1807. In 1837 an eighth and ninth justice were added, and in 1863 the number rose to ten. Congress lowered the number to eight to prevent President ANDREW JOHNSON from appointing anyone, and since 1869 the Court has consisted of nine justices.
The only modern attempt to alter the size of the...
(The entire section is 1579 words.)