The U.S. Supreme Court

Category: Law
Date added
Pages:  4
Words:  1325
Order Original Essay

How it works

In American society, the U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court that holds both original and appellate jurisdiction with cases they want to review that were appealed to them from lower courts. They have the choice to decide which case will be heard for errors in law and procedures. The primary power of the Supreme Court is to decide disputes. Supreme court justices deal with cases involving the laws of congress and the Constitution of the United States. They have the ability to overrule laws and executive actions that seem to be unconstitutional. The court is responsible for ensuring the rule of law to the people. “”Further, appellate courts do more than merely review lower court ruling for errors in process or procedure. Rather, they engage in policy making through the pattern of decisions they issue and the legal rules they articulate when resolving disputes (Pamela C. Corley, 2016, p. 331). There is a matter in policy that the people of society want the Supreme Court to determine on political issues that may potentially make a difference and not just decide a point of law.

The Supreme Court has judicial power obtained from the Constitution under Article III, where they can interpret the law. “”They derive their power from Article III of the Constitution, which reads, in: “”The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish (Pamela C. Corley, 2016, p. 114). The U.S. Constitution builds up the Supreme Court, while Congress has the choice to how it will be sorted out. In relation to supreme court justices, Congress has authority to enlarge or minimize the number on the bench. The judicial power of the Supreme Court serves to guarantee the changing perspectives of a majority do not threaten the essential values of Americans. For instance, each individual has rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. “”Researchers have classified the justices as liberal or conservative based on their votes in the cases that reach the court (Pamela C. Corley, 2016, p. 377). Judicial decision making in the Supreme Court is influenced by political, ideological and legal direction. The decision process begins with judges choosing the cases they want to hear. By doing so, they engage in agenda setting, in which justices choose from thousands of cases along with the petitions they receive. If justices follow through with choosing a case to hear, a writ of certiorari would have to be made directing lower courts to proceed with records of the case. In regard to briefs and amicus curiae, they are usually submitted to help resolve cases. As oral arguments arise, they are taken to the bench to be heard by justices. Following that, the Supreme Court holds private conferences to vote on the decision of the case and opinions are circulated and discussed. Justices have the ability to negotiate opinions before coming to an understanding to form final coalitions.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

Moreover, the power of the Supreme Court is derived by judicial review. The Supreme Court power determines constitutionality of acts in congress and interprets the constitution. In 1803, Marbury vs. Madison was the most important case, because it applied the judicial review principle in the Supreme Court. Judicial Review is the power to regulate whether a law passed by Congress is constitutional. In the Marbury case, the Supreme Court used judicial review to determine that laws passed by a legislature violated the Constitution. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the unanimous opinion of judicial review and was able to add more to the system of checks and balances, in which prevented any branch of government from having too much power. The process of judicial review allows laws that may violate rights and liberties of the constitution to be removed or revised without full on legislature. The power of judicial review can pronounce that laws and actions of nearby, state, or national government are invalid in the event that conflict is started with the Constitution. It enables courts to declare an action of the legislative or executive branch to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court may review cases that are brought before law suits, because with judicial review they are able to review laws before it occurs.

Although supreme court justices hold power obtained by judicial review, there are constraints that can potentially prevent the Supreme court from deciding on cases. For instance, some constraints found on the Court when wielding its power are jurisdiction, political questions, and advisory opinions. In the Marbury vs. Madison case, the Supreme court ruled the original jurisdiction of the court was to not be removed, because it was already in the Constitution. This would cause decision making issues where no jurisdiction is placed in certain cases. As the idea of viewing themselves as a non-political body, appellate courts would not want to get into political matters considering themselves that. Other branches would be questioned on whether it would be better left to another branch of government. Courts believe that giving opinions on issues that do not relate to a case or controversy would violate the principles of separation of powers.

Furthermore, in relation to the American federal system, many legal scholars and political scientists disagree on the way judges make decisions. Both groups have their disagreements on decision making based on precedent or ideology. Stare Decisis (or precedent) is a legitimate doctrine that commits courts to pursue past cases when making a decision on a current or future case. It ties courts to pursue legal precedents set by past choices. Also, it is a Latin term that stands for, “”to stand by that which is decided. The role it plays in judicial decision making, is judges having to make decisions as reasonably as possible with past legal decisions on a current case. Each case decided by law court turns into a point of reference for ensuring choices including comparative decisions. Making decisions based on their own personal preferences ( or ideology) enables justices to evaluate the impact of policy preferences, while holding the influence of case explicit factors consistent. Having an ideological motive helps judges use laws to rationalize decisions, because they have goals and work in institutions to achieve those goals. There lies both the Attitudinal model and Legal model of decision making for judges as it pertains to precedent or ideology. “”The test of whether a model provides a valid and reliable explanation is its ability accurately to predict future outcomes (Spaeth, 1995, p. 297). The attitudinal model argues that the only thing that matters in a Supreme court is ideology, whereas the legal model focuses on decisions of judges to be influenced by legal considerations including the matters of precedent.

The Supreme court and other courts have been able to provide reasonable proof as to why the attitudinal model for judicial decision making is more realistic. As it relates to justices making decisions based on their own personal preferences and not on precedent, it creates a greater impact on case decisions. “”As federal judge Frank M. Coffin points out: “”Precedent is certainly real and we learn to live with it. But if precedent clearly governed, a case would never get as far as the Court of Appeals: the parties would settle (Spaeth, 1995, p. 302). The ideological perspectives of the judge and their strategy preferences can have more impact on his decision making than the law using the attitudinal model. The mind of a judge is formed by experience and environment. Using the attitudinal model for judicial decision making can cause a stronger approach on politically charged issues. “”Attitudinal modelers differ among themselves in the level of generality with which they conduct their analyses (Spaeth, 1995, p. 305). Justices are aware that precedent does not matter as much as the growth of ideology. Both their ideological attitudes and values are connected to the facts of the case as they make a decision. Justices make decisions based on their own personal preferences.

Did you like this example?

The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay

Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

The U.S. Supreme Court. (2019, Mar 04). Retrieved from