Court History and Purpose
By Chrissy Frasier
July 1, 2013
Courts, laws, and people who serve in the courts are all important to our criminal justice system. The Supreme Court has nine justices; a chief justice and eight associate justices. The president nominates the Supreme Court justices that are then confirmed by the Senate. Once a justice is appointed they are in it for life unless they are impeached by Congress for “misbehavior.” Nearly half of the justices serve until death but recently most justices who left the bench retired. If the position for chief justice becomes vacant, the president can either nominate an existing justice to be promoted or he can nominate a new justice to fill the position. The Supreme Court hears three types of cases; 2/3 of cases are appealed from lower federal courts, 1/3 are cases that are appealed from state supreme courts, and in rear occasions’ they hear cases that haven’t been heard by lower court because it’s about something like issue’s between one state’s government and another. The justices are the ones who decide which cases will be heard, which is usually 80 cases a year. Another 50 are decided without hearing arguments. Constitutional issues or federal law are the cases the Supreme Court usually addresses. There are about 7000 requests per year that the Supreme Court receives. So if they choose not to hear the case then whatever decision the lower case ruled still stands.
There are two court systems in America; state courts and federal courts. As states formed, so did laws and a court system for each state. If something is legal in one state, doesn’t mean it would be legal in another. For example, gay marriage is legal in California but not in Oregon. If you get caught breaking the law you will go to court and suffer the consequences according to your state’s laws. State courts handle tort crimes like being sued. Each state has a “ladder” of courts. For example, California’s “ladder”...
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