Portal:Supreme Court of the United States

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Supreme Court of the United States Portal

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the judicial branch of the United States federal government. The Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed with the "advice and consent" of the Senate. They are appointed to serve "during good behavior," which means for life, and leave office only upon death, retirement, resignation, or impeachment and subsequent conviction. The Supreme Court holds both original and appellate jurisdiction, with its appellate jurisdiction accounting for most of the Court's caseload. The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C., in the United States Supreme Court building. The Court's yearly terms usually start on the first Monday in October and finish sometime during the following June or July. Each term consists of alternating two week intervals. During the first interval, the court is in session and hears cases, and during the second interval, the court is recessed to consider and write opinions on cases they have heard.

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Justice Kennedy wrote the decision of the court.
Berghuis v. Thompkins, 560 U.S. ___ (2010) (docket 08-1470), is a decision by the United States Supreme Court in which the Court considered the position of a suspect who understands his or her right to remain silent under Miranda v. Arizona and is aware he or she has the right to remain silent, but does not explicitly invoke or waive the right. Anthony Kennedy (pictured) wrote the opinion of the court. The Court held that unless and until the suspect actually stated that he was relying on that right, his subsequent voluntary statements could be used in court and police could continue to interact with (or question) him. The mere act of remaining silent was, on its own, insufficient to imply the suspect has invoked his or her rights. Furthermore, a voluntary reply even after lengthy silence could be construed as implying a waiver. The Court was split 5-4. The dissent, authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, argued that Miranda and other previous cases had required a claimed waiver of a constitutional right to be shown more strongly, especially in light of a lengthy interrogation with a possible "compelling influence" during which the accused had remained almost entirely silent for almost 3 hours prior to the self-incriminating statement. Responses from legal observers and the media were divided. Many considered Berghuis a further erosion of Miranda and were concerned it was "turning the clocks back" on safeguards developed in previous cases. Others saw the ruling as a sign of strength and a signal that the Court, under its own impetus, was willing to address known issues resulting from the view of terrorism as crime. The more common view was concern that vulnerable citizens could now be placed under pressure and, despite having an understanding of their rights, could be more easily coerced prejudicial to their interests.

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The Fuller Court
Credit: This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b04545.

1899, Supreme Court. From left to right: Justice Peckham, Justice Brewer, Justice Shiras, Justice Harlan, Chief Justice Fuller, Justice White, Justice Gray, Justice McKenna, Justice Brown.

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Byron White
Byron Raymond "Whizzer" White (June 8, 1917 – April 15, 2002) won fame both as a football halfback and as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Appointed to the court by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, he served until his retirement in 1993. He was married to Marion Lloyd Stearns in 1946 and the father of two children, Charles (Barney) Byron White and Nancy Pitkin White. White was born in Fort Collins, Colorado. He was raised in the nearby town of Wellington, Colorado, where he obtained his high school diploma in 1930. He made a point of returning to Wellington on an annual basis for his high school reunions up until 1999 when his physical health worsened significantly. He died in Denver at the age of 84 from complications of pneumonia. He was the first and only Supreme Court Justice from the state of Colorado.

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Sonia Sotomayor
I strive never to forget the real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses and government.

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