US Supreme Court Essay Research Paper The

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US Supreme Court Essay, Research Paper The Supreme Court is the highest governing body that is known to us as the people of the United States of America. In the 1998-99 term, the Supreme Court is slated to hear cases on subjects as diverse as business monopolies, labor unions, health insurers, initiative petitions and due process. The justices will also revisit the issue of sexual harassment. The following will just be an overview of how the Supreme Court operates. I will try to point out many things throughout the course of this paper. The first points I will try to show is who the notable past judges were and what major roles they had in our society. Next, I will move into the justices of today and try to give a brief overview of them. Then I will move into the courts

specifically. I will try to show how the courts work, how the justices go about choosing cases, hearing arguments, and making decisions. Lastly, I will give an overview of some of the most historic cases that have been heard by the United States Supreme Court and their decisions. As a result, all of these factors considered should help to give a better understanding of the Supreme Court and how it functions. Since the Supreme Court’s inception in 1789, 108 justices have served on it. There have been 16 chief justices. Several members of the court became great figures in history or were distinguished for contributions beyond their court service. There are four chief justices that have helped shape the course of the American judiciary system and the nation’s overall progress.

John Marshall, who served as chief justice from 1801-1835, was probably the most influential chief justice to serve. Often called the great chief justice, Marshall was instrumental in establishing the court’s authority in the national government. During his tenure, the court began issuing single, majority opinions, enabling it to speak with a more definitive, unified voice. Rulings over this era bolstered federal power over states. Marshall wrote the 1803 decision in Marbury versus Madison, which established judicial review of laws, passed by Congress. Next, was Charles Evans Hughes who served as associate justice 1910-1916 and chief justice 1930-1941. He presided over the court during the Great Depression and the New Deal era. Next, was William Howard Taft, who served as chief

justice 1921-1930. He was the only person to serve as President from 1909-1913 and as chief justice. President William G. Harding appointed Taft chief justice. He successfully pressed Congress to pass laws that gave the court almost unlimited discretion to decide which cases it will hear. Lastly was Earl Warren, who served as chief justice from 1953-1969. This is another man that people would really recognize because of his affiliation to the FBI. Warren, a former California governor, was appointed by Republican President Eisenhower, and took a decidedly liberal course in a socially stormy era. His legacy includes decisions forbidding school segregation, fair mapping of voting districts, and enhancing rights of defendants in criminal trials. Just a couple of small things to add

on an aside note are the first African-American chief justice was Thurgood Marshall, who served from 1967-1991, and the first female chief justice was Sandra Day O’Connor, who has served from1981-present. Next I would just like to rundown the list of current justices that will be hearing cases for this term. Note that I will try to list the current justices in their order of their seniority, who they were appointed by, and what year they were appointed. The top dog, also known as the chief justice, is William H. Rehnquist, who was appointed associate justice by President Richard M. Nixon in 1971 and was later elevated to chief justice by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. The next justice is John Paul Stevens, appointed by President Gerald R. Ford in 1975. Next is Sandra Day