Court System Essay

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The Supreme Court has a special role to play in the United States system of government. The Constitution gives it the power to check, if necessary, the actions of the President and Congress. It can tell a President that his actions are not allowed by the Constitution. It can tell Congress that a law it passed violated the U.S. Constitution and is, therefore, no longer a law. It can also tell the government of a state that one of its laws breaks a rule in the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the final judge in all cases involving laws of Congress, and the highest law of all — the Constitution. The Supreme Court, however, is far from all-powerful. Its power is limited by the other two branches of government. The President nominates justices to the court. The Senate must vote its approval of the nominations. The whole Congress also has great power over the lower courts in the federal system. District and appeals courts are created by acts of Congress. These courts may be abolished if Congress wishes it. The Supreme Court is like a referee on a football field. The Congress, the President, the state police, and other government officials are the players. Some can pass laws, and others can enforce laws. But all exercise power within certain boundaries. These boundaries are set by the Constitution. As the "referee" in the U.S. system of government, it is the Supreme Court's job to say when government officials step out-of-bounds. How the Justices Make Decisions The decisions of the Supreme Court are made inside a white marble courthouse in Washington, D.C. Here the nine justices receive about 5,000 requests for hearings each year. Of these the Court will agree to hear fewer than 150. If the Court decides not to hear the case, the ruling of the lower court stands. Those cases which they agree to hear are given a date for argument. One the morning of that

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