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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Dred Scott
Dred Scott v. Sandford was a lawsuit decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1857. It is considered by many to have been a key cause of the American Civil War, and of the later ratification of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, leading to the abolition of slavery and establishment of civil rights for freed slaves. While the name of the case is "Scott v. Sandford", the respondent's surname was actually "Sanford". A clerk had misspelled the name, and the court never corrected the error. The decision for the court was written by Chief Justice Roger Taney. Dred Scott (pictured) was a slave who was taken first to Illinois, a free state, and then to Minnesota, a free territory, for an extended period of time and then back to the slave state of Missouri. After his original master died, he sued for his freedom. After the Missouri Supreme Court ruled against him, he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the decision of the Missouri court, but also used the case to fundamentally change the legal balance of power in favor of slaveholders.

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The Roberts Court, 2010
Credit: Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

The Roberts Court, 2010. Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Louis Brandeis

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Huntsville Unit, the site of executions in the State of Texas

Selected biography

John Marshall Harlan II
John Marshall Harlan (1899–1971) was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 1955 to 1971. His namesake was his grandfather John Marshall Harlan, another associate justice who served from 1877 to 1911. Harlan was a student at Upper Canada College and Appleby College and then at Princeton University. He continued his education at Balliol College, Oxford. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1923 Harlan worked in the law firm of Root, Clark, Buckner & Howland while studying at New York Law School. Later he served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and as Special Assistant Attorney General of New York. In 1954 Harlan was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and a year later president Dwight Eisenhower nominated Harlan to the United States Supreme Court following the death of Justice Robert H. Jackson. Harlan is often characterized as a member of the conservative wing of the Warren Court. Justice Harlan was gravely ill when he retired from the Supreme Court on September 23, 1971. He died from spinal cancer three months later, on December 29, 1971. After Harlan's retirement, President Nixon appointed William Rehnquist to replace him.




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Bernie Sanders


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