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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A 1904 photograph of Wong Kim Ark.
United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), was a United States Supreme Court decision that set an important legal precedent about the role of jus soli (birth in the United States) as a factor in determining a person's claim to United States citizenship. The citizenship status of a man (Wong Kim Ark pictured) born in the United States to Chinese parents was challenged because of a law restricting Chinese immigration and prohibiting immigrants from China from becoming naturalized U.S. citizens, but the Supreme Court ruled that the citizenship language in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution could not be limited in its effect by an act of Congress.

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William Cushing
Credit: Supreme Court

William Cushing, official portrait. Cushing was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1795.

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Hugo Black
Hugo LaFayette Black (1886 – 1971) was an American politician and jurist. A member of the Democratic Party, Black represented Alabama in the United States Senate from 1927 to 1937, and served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1937 to 1971. Black was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 63 to 13. He was first of nine Roosevelt nominees to the Court, and outlasted all except for William O. Douglas. Black is widely regarded as one of the most influential Supreme Court justices in the 20th century. The fifth longest-serving justice in Supreme Court history, Black is noted for his advocacy of a textualist reading of the United States Constitution and of the position that the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights were imposed on the states ("incorporated") by the Fourteenth Amendment. During his political career, Black was regarded as a staunch supporter of liberal policies and civil liberties. However, Black consistently opposed the doctrine of substantive due process (the anti-New Deal Supreme Court cited this concept in such a way as to make it impossible for the government to enact legislation that interfered with the freedom of business owners) and believed that there was no basis in the words of the Constitution for a right to privacy, voting against finding one in Griswold v. Connecticut. Black also endorsed Roosevelt in both the 1932 and 1936 US Presidential elections and was a staunch supporter of the New Deal.

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William O. Douglas

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