Axia College of University of Phoenix
Instructor: Anthony Nici
August 23rd, 2010
The Role and Importance of the Supreme Court
Introduction and Purpose
The United States Supreme Court is considered the High Court of judicial powers in acting in a "judicial review manner in overturning laws and executive acts unconstitutional" (Mendelson, 1992, p. 775). With words of, "Equal Justice Under Law" written prominently above the main doors of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court Building located in Washington, D.C. is an architectural design symbolic of its Constitutional enforcement of legal equality for all. From its marble figures that flank the main steps to its bronze flagpole with symbolic designs and the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water and the bronze doors that open into its majestic entry, the Supreme Court remains the core landmark symbolizing the ultimate American justice system. The marble figures consisting of a female figure symbolizing the "Contemplation of Justice," and a male figure representing "The Guardian or Authority of Law," (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/about/courtbuilding.pdf) pp. 1, show equality, but inside the building lays an interesting equality in structure and personnel representing the Justices and the American people who are being served in the most public legal forum: the Supreme Court. Structure and Personnel
The United States Supreme Court is comprised of the following Chief Justice and Associate Justices: ➢ Chief Justice: John G. Roberts Jr.
➢ Associate Justice: Anthony M. Kennedy
➢ Associate Justice: Clarence Thomas
➢ Associate Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
➢ Associate Justice: John P. Stevens
➢ Associate Justice: Sonia Sotomayor
➢ Associate Justice: Stephen G. Breyer
➢ Associate Justice: Samuel A. Alito Jr.
➢ Retired Justice: David H. Souter
➢ Retired Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/about/briefoverview.pdf%20pp%201-2). The Supreme Court nominations are appointed by the President of the United States and final appointment is made by the Senate. There are a number of Officers that work to maintain the daily functioning of the Supreme Court and those positions range from Counselor to the Chief Justice to Public Information Officer. The Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life barring retirement, death, resignation or criminal impeachment from office. Process
Lawyers who have been granted a Supreme Court venue to appeal court cases are given thirty (30) minutes to present their arguments, during each session the Justices can review the decisions in up to 24 cases (http://www/supremecourtus.gov/about/procedures.pdf%20p.1). The Justices use the Constitution in directing and supporting final decision-making in the cases being appealed. Like any other job, the Justices have recesses and take time off. During the regular weekday, the schedule consists of public sessions with none being held last two days of the week. The Justices have conference times to review cases arguments and vote on which case petitions will be heard during session. Cases that have been rejected for review are publically reported as an "order list" along with additional public information on reviews in cases and appeals. Discretional Powers
As an appellate court of final decisions and appeals, the Supreme Court publishes a Supreme Court calendar announcing its current term with color codes of red, blue and green to signify argument, non-argument and conference days (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/oral_arguments/09TermCourtCalendar.pdf%20p.%201). The scope of the Supreme Court lies in its use of the Constitution as the backbone in applying the rules of law in its final reviews, decisions and case arguments. For the American people, the Supreme Court represents an ultimate democracy in being legally protected from laws and judgments that are unconstitutional. Within the power of judicial review, the Supreme Court has been given "a crucial responsibility in assuring protection of individual rights, as well in maintaining a "living Constitution" whose broad provisions are continually applied to complicated new situations" (http://www/supremecourtus.gov/about/courtconstitutionalinterpretation.pdf%20p.1). There are both positives and negatives in the Supreme Court structure and decision-making in conferring legal affirmations. The gender diversity still leans towards a male power base and strength in final decision-making. However, the positive existence of having a Supreme Court is that there is a promise of equal protection and justice under the law which has continued its consistency in that regard for hundreds of years. Conclusion
The Supreme Court is an American icon symbolizing the balance of legal powers and jurisdictions. Its inherent constitutional governance has navigated an equitable judicial review in upholding the dictates of the American Constitution. The balance in legal constraint that the Supreme Court adheres to has created strong governance for the American people being served. The United States and its Supreme Court are unique like no other government structure in the global world in actualizing the Constitution to preserve the democracy of the legal rights of America just as its fore-fathers did two centuries ago.
Mendelson, W. (1992). Separation of powers. In Hall, K.L. "The oxford companion to the Supreme Court of the United States." Oxford University Press. P. 775. ISBN 101095058356.
Supreme Court Publications. As Retrieved from the Internet, September 18,