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Critical Thinking Question

Make a list of the most important qualities for a judge to have.

The Supreme Court

Unit 6

Constitutional Facts

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One of the 3 equal branches of government Final say in Federal Law Court chooses what cases it wants to hear Members are nominated by the President

Approved by the Senate

9 total Supreme Court Justices

Supreme Court Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction
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the extent or range of judicial, law enforcement, or other authority the territory over which authority is exercised
Original Jurisdiction
1. 2.

The Supreme Court has two types of Jurisdiction

Cases involving foreign governments Cases involving the State as a party
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Disputes amongst states NOT “Maryland vs. Smith”

Appellate Jurisdiction

Supreme court can choose to hear trials through the court of appeals
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Constitution Violations Interstate crimes

Critical Thinking Questions

In order for someone to be fair, must they make decisions that does not consider or include their own religious or political views? Does religion or politics create biases?

Supreme Court Justice

9 Justices
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Congress sets the number

1 Chief Justice 8 Associate Justices

Benefits of Being a Justice

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Has varied from 5 to 10

Chief: Associates:

Justices can be impeached
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Constitutionally congress sets Justice salaries, however is not allowed to reduce justice salaries

$181,400 $173,600

Only one has been impeached None have ever been removed from office

Duties of a Justice
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1. 2. 3.

Duties of Justices have developed from Precedent – no constitutional duties Main Duty: Hear and Rule on Cases
Deciding which cases to hear Deciding on that case Explaining their decision



Other duties

Concurring Opinion – winning side Dissenting Opinion – losing side

Special legal actions of the 12 circuit courts

Special Workloads
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Each justice assigned to each court, 3 justices have 2 Special prosecutors Investigative committees

Law Clerks

Assist Justices in their everyday duties

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Write memos Summarize court cases Prepare opinions

Usually hire Graduates from Law Schools across the nation
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Usually prestigious law schools

You could do this while in college!

Chief Justice John G. Roberts 1. Christoper DiPompeo (U. Penn. 2009) 2. Frederick Liu (Yale 2008) 3. Colleen Roh (Harvard 201) 4. Hagan Scotten (Harvard 2010) Justice Antonin Scalia 1. Donald Burke (UVA 2008) 2. Rebecca Krauss (Yale 2010) 3. Carl Marchioli (Harvard 2010) 4. John Moran (UVA 2010) Justice Anthony M. Kennedy 1. Ishan Bhabha (Harvard 2009) 2. Leah Litman (Michigan 2010) 3. Eric Nguyen (Harvard 2009) 4. Justin Walker (Harvard 2009) Justice Clarence Thomas 1. Liam Hardy (Georgetown 2008) 2. Brian Lea (UGA 2009) 3. Matt Nicholson (UVA 2009) 4. Michelle Stratton (LSU 2009) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1. Rachel Wainer Apter (Harvard 2007) 2. Benjamin Beaton (Columbia 2009) 3. Jennifer Clark (Georgetown 2008) 4. Gerry Sinzdak (Berkeley 2008)

Justice Stephen G. Breyer 1. Rachel Bloomekatz (UCLA 2008) 2. Jonathan Bressler (Harvard 2010) 3. Andrew Dawson (Stanford 2008) 4. Rebecca Stone (NYU 2009) Justice Samuel Alito 1. Sarah Campbell (Duke 2009) 2. Anthony Dick (Stanford 2010) 3. William Levi (Yale 2010) 4. Ryan Newman (U. Texas 2007) Justice Sonia Sotomayor 1. Michael Bern (Harvard 2008) 2. Mark Hiller (UVA 2009) 3. Daniel Habib (Yale 2010) 4. Jane Kucera (Harvard 2008) Justice Elena Kagan 1. Jeff Johnson (Harvard 2010) 2. Rakesh Kilaru (Stanford 2010) 3. Erica Ross (Stanford 2009) 4. Jonathan Schneller (Harvard 2010)

Background of Justices


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108 men 4 women 2 African Americans 1 Hispanic American Usually people with law degrees (not required) Usually have been state judges One has been a former President Only 9 have been younger than 50 years old

Critical Thinking Question

Considering the background of former supreme court judges, do you think Presidents have always used good judgment in selecting supreme court justices? STAND UP, HAND UP, SHARE

Today’s Court

9 Judges

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3 1 1 6 8

women / 6 men Hispanic American African American Catholics / 3 Jewish graduated from private schools / ivy league