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Does The Supreme Court Make Laws?

Does The Supreme Court Make Laws?

The Supreme Court of the United States is the country’s highest court and is tasked with following laws and interpreting the Constitution. One misunderstanding regarding the Supreme Court is that it has legislative authority. This idea is not totally correct, though.

The Supreme Court’s primary responsibilities are to interpret the law, settle legal disputes, and offer advice on whether or not legislation is constitutional. As also stated by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, judges should interpret the law, not create it when he was nominated to the US Supreme Court.

This article will explore whether the Supreme Court has the authority to enact laws by delving into its authority, bounds, and judicial decision-making procedures.

The Judicial Branch 

The judicial branch members are nominated by the President. However, they are confirmed by the Senate. Unlike the executive and legislative branches, which are elected by the general public. The federal judiciary’s form and organization are left largely up to Congress’s discretion under the Constitution’s Article III, which established the Judicial Branch.

Even the size of the Supreme Court is up to Congress; historically, there have been as few as six justices, while the current composition of the court-nine, including the Chief Justice and eight associate Justices– has only been since 1869.

The US District Courts, which hear the majority of federal cases, and the 13 United States Courts of Appeals, that hear appeals from district courts, were established by Congress in accordance with the Constitution’s power to create courts lower than the Supreme Court.

Only the House Of Representatives and the Senate may impeach federal judges and convict them. Judges and Justices have no set tenure; they continue in office until they pass away, retire, or are found guilty by the Senate.

By design, this shields them from the fleeting emotions of the populace and enables them to apply the law impartially, without regard to political or electoral considerations. The federal courts’ jurisdiction is often set by Congress.

The Supreme Court is given original jurisdiction in particular circumstances, such as when there is a disagreement between two or more US States, and Congress cannot revoke this power. Only actual instances and disputes are heard in court; to file a lawsuit, a party must prove that it has suffered injury. 

This means that if a court decision did not have any real-world consequences, it would not be issuing advisory opinions on the constitutionality of laws or the legitimacy of activities. Although the Supreme Court hears relatively few cases each year, cases submitted before the judiciary often move from district court to appellate court before possibly concluding there. 

Only federal courts have the authority to interpret laws, decide whether they are constitutional, and apply them to specific situations. The use of a subpoena by the courts to compel the production of evidence and testimony is similar to that used by Congress.

The Supreme Court’s rulings limit lower courts; once the Supreme Court interprets a law, lower courts are required to apply that interpretation to the facts of a particular case.

The Supreme Court Of The United States

The United States Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and the only branch of the federal judiciary that the Constitution expressly mandated.

The number of Supreme Court Justices is not predetermined by the Constitution; rather, it is determined by Congress. However, since 1869, there have been nine Justices, including one Chief Justice, down from as few as six.

All justices hold their proposals to the Senate for confirmation. Justices are regarded as being shielded from political pressure while making decisions because they are not required to run for re-election or engage in re-election campaigns. Until they retire, pass away, are impeached and found guilty by Congress, or resign themselves, justices may continue to serve.

The majority of the cases the court hears are appeals, and because the court is the last legal arbiter of federal law issues in the United States, its rulings are final and cannot be appealed to any other body.

The court may, however, take into account appeals from the top state courts or from federal appellate courts. Additionally, the court has original jurisdiction in a small number of cases, such as disputes between governments and those involving ambassadors and other diplomats.

The Supreme Court often does not undertake trials, despite the fact that it may hear an appeal on any legal issue as long as it has jurisdiction. Instead, it is up to the court to determine what a statute means, whether it applies to a certain set of facts, and how it should be applied. When making decisions, lower courts must adhere to the precedent that the Supreme Court has established.

 The Supreme Court almost seldom hears appeals out of the blue; instead, parties must apply to the court for a writ of certiorari. If four out of the nine justices agree that the case deserves to be heard, the court will often grant cert. Less than 150 of the roughly 7,500 certiorari petitions granted each year by the COurt are typical. 

These are often situations that the court deems significant enough to warrant review. An example of this is when two or more federal courts of appeals have reached different conclusions regarding the same federal law question. If the court grants certiorari, the Justices will consider legal submissions from the parties to the case and also from amicus curiae, also referred to as the friends of the court. These can be academic institutions, business trade associations, or even the US government.

The Supreme Court often hears oral arguments before making a decision, during which the parties to the case present their cases, and the justice questions them. The United States Solicitor General makes arguments on the country’s behalf if the case involves the federal government.

The justice then conducts private meetings, reaches a conclusion, and (typically after a few months) publishes the court’s ruling along with any written dissenting views.

The Deliberative Process And Legal Precedent

The Supreme Court’s deliberative procedure generates legal precedents that serve as a road map for subsequent cases, fostering consistency and equity in legal interpretation. These precedents must be followed by lower courts to maintain the hierarchy of the law. Although the court has the authority to overturn its own decisions, it does so cautiously and only where there is a strong case for doing so.

Final Thought

As the nation’s highest court, the Supreme Court of the United States is crucial to interpreting the Constitution and sustaining the rule of law. Contrary to popular belief, the court’s major duties are to interpret existing laws, settle legal disputes, and offer guidance on whether proposed laws are constitutional. 

The court makes sure that the law is applied fairly and uniformly through the judicial decision-making process. The Constitution meticulously spells out the court’s makeup, appointment procedure, and jurisdiction over cases, highlighting the court’s independence and protection from passing public fervor.

 The Supreme Court is the final arbitrator of justice in the country since it has the final say in matters of federal law. It implies that the court cannot make laws, but are their to interpret them and ensure that the laws are being followed properly.