The Supreme Court New Essay, Research Paper
Today the Supreme Court agrees to hear about 7,000 cases each year. In the early days of the Supreme Court (1790-1801) the court heard only 87 cases. This number slowly increased up until recently where they have shown a dramatic increase. The court has original jurisdiction over all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a Sate shall be a party. Before these cases get to the Supreme Court, they can go through a Special Minister, usually a retired judge, in a district court. Under the Judiciary Act of 1925, the court has appellate jurisdiction, and has the authority to turn down cases. The idea behind the Act is that the intermediate court should be the final word for most legal issues. Cases are heard only if they present important issues of law, and not to fix the mistakes of other courts. Since 1988 all cases that go to the Supreme Court arrive on a petition for writ of certiorari. Over half of all petitions to the Supreme Court are filed in forma pauperis. This means that the often poor defendants can avoid paying for filing and printing costs. To avoid having to hear frivolous re2quests the Supreme Court sends requests through the certiorari process. This process weeds out requests that don’t come from the Court of Appeals, special district courts, or a state court, and don’t involve a federal question. He clerks at the transmits office review the pool of requests and decide which cases should be discussed. These discuss cases are then discussed by the justices and if four or more judges decide to hear it, then the case goes to the Supreme Court. Very few of the cases petitioned to the Supreme Court actually make it this far.
Once the court decides to hear a case it is prepared by an expert defendant if it is forma pauperis. Then both lawyers submit their written arguments and make initial arguments. Most cases gain support by filing amicus curiae to special interest groups that are sympathetic to the case. This is one of the major ways that defendants influence the decision of the judge. After briefs and amicus briefs are submitted the court proceeds to oral arguments. The court takes place from October through early July, usually at two-week sittings. The court is very traditional and at precisely 10:00 am the court Marshall emerges when the court is in session. The chief Justice sits in the middle with four justices on each side alternating in seniority. Almost all attorneys are allotted a half-hour to present their cases. They begin with a green light, followed by a five minute warning white light and then the red light. Lawyers in the Supreme Court are not prohibited from using notes and informal arguments like in the lower courts. Questions from the justices are very common, especially in controversial cases. After arguments are heard the justices meet behind closed doors to conference and vote on the cases.
One of the biggest influences on justices of the Supreme Court is public opinion. They are confronted with these opinions in newspapers, and other people. This public opinion is an important check on the power of the courts. An activist period in the Supreme Court has a direct correlation to social or economic crisis. Other influences on the justices include childhood experiences, religious values, education, and earlier political careers. The justices are not blocked off from the rest of the world and a susceptible to influences just like the rest of us.
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