Court

A court is any person or institution with authority to judge or adjudicate, often as a government institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law.[1] In both common law and civil law legal systems, courts are the central means for dispute resolution, and it is generally understood that all people have an ability to bring their claims before a court. Similarly, the rights of those accused of a crime include the right to present a defense before a court.

The system of courts that interprets and applies the law is collectively known as the judiciary. The place where a court sits is known as a venue. The room where court proceedings occur is known as a courtroom, and the building as a courthouse; court facilities range from simple and very small facilities in rural communities to large buildings in cities.

The practical authority given to the court is known as its jurisdiction (Latin: jus dicere') – the court's power to decide certain kinds of questions or petitions put to it. According to William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, a court is constituted by a minimum of three parties: the actor or plaintiff, who complains of an injury done; the reus or defendant, who is called upon to make satisfaction for it, and the judex or judicial power, which is to examine the truth of the fact, to determine the law arising upon that fact, and, if any injury appears to have been done, to ascertain and by its officers to apply a legal remedy. It is also usual in the superior courts to have barristers, and attorneys or counsel, as assistants,[2] though, often, courts consist of additional barristers, bailiffs, reporters, and perhaps a jury.

The term "the court" is also used to refer to the presiding officer or officials, usually one or more judges. The judge or panel of judges may also be collectively referred to as "the bench" (in contrast to attorneys and barristers, collectively referred to as "the bar"). In the United States, and other common law jurisdictions, the term "court" (in the case of U.S. federal courts) by law is used to describe the judge himself or herself.[3]

In the United States, the legal authority of a court to take action is based on personal jurisdiction over the parties to the litigation and subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims asserted.

Old Bailey Microcosm edited
A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermann's Microcosm of London (1808–11).

Etymology

The word court comes from the French cour, an enclosed yard, which derives from the Latin form cortem, the accusative case of cohors, which again means an enclosed yard or the occupants of such a yard. The English word court is a cognate of the Latin word hortus from Ancient Greek χόρτος (khórtos) (meaning "garden", hence horticulture and orchard), both referring to an enclosed space.[4]

The meaning of a judicial assembly is first attested in the 12th century, and derives from the earlier usage to designate a sovereign and his entourage, which met to adjudicate disputes in such an enclosed yard. The verb "to court", meaning to win favor, derives from the same source since people traveled to the sovereign's court to win his favor.[4][5]

Jurisdiction

The word jurisdiction comes from juris and dictio (a speaking and pronouncing of the law).[6] Jurisdiction is defined as the official authority to make legal decisions and judgements over an individual or materialistic item within a territory.[7]

"Whether a given court has jurisdiction to preside over a given case" is a key question in any legal action.[8] Three basic components of jurisdiction are personal jurisdiction over an individual, jurisdiction over the particular subject matter (subject-matter jurisdiction) or thing (res) and territorial jurisdiction.[8] Jurisdiction over a person refers to the full authority over a person regardless on where they live, jurisdiction over a particular subject matter refers to the authority over the said subject of legal cases involved in a case, and lastly, territorial jurisdiction is the authority over a person within an x amount of space.

Other concepts of jurisdiction include general jurisdiction, exclusive jurisdiction, territorial jurisdiction, appellate jurisdiction, and (in the United States federal courts) diversity jurisdiction.[8]

Trial and appellate courts

Trial courts are courts that hold trials. Sometimes termed "courts of first instance", trial courts have varying original jurisdiction. Trial courts may conduct trials with juries as the finders of fact (these are known as jury trials) or trials in which judges act as both finders of fact and finders of law (in some jurisdictions these are known as bench trials). Juries are less common in court systems outside the Anglo-American common law tradition.

Appellate courts are courts that hear appeals of lower courts and trial courts.

Some courts, such as the Crown Court in England and Wales may have both trial and appellate jurisdictions.

Civil law courts and common law courts

The two major legal traditions of the western world are the civil law courts and the common law courts. These two great legal traditions are similar, in that they are products of western culture although there are significant differences between the two traditions. Civil law courts are profoundly based upon Roman Law, specifically a civil body of law entitled "Corpus iuris civilis".[9] This theory of civil law was rediscovered around the end of the eleventh century and became a foundation for university legal education starting in Bologna, Spain and subsequently being taught throughout continental European Universities.[9] Civil law is firmly ensconced in the French and German legal systems. Common law courts were established by English royal judges of the King's Council after the Norman Invasion of Britain in 1066.[10] The royal judges created a body of law by combining local customs they were made aware of through traveling and visiting local jurisdictions.[10] This common standard of law became known as "Common Law". This legal tradition is practiced in the English and American legal systems. In most civil law jurisdictions, courts function under an inquisitorial system. In the common law system, most courts follow the adversarial system. Procedural law governs the rules by which courts operate: civil procedure for private disputes (for example); and criminal procedure for violation of the criminal law. In recent years international courts are being created to resolve matters not covered by the jurisdiction of national courts. For example, The International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, in The Kingdom of The Netherlands.

Court television shows

Television show courts, which are not part of the judicial system and are generally private arbitrators, are depicted within the court show genre; however, the courts depicted have been criticized as misrepresenting real-life courts of law and the true nature of the legal system.[11] Notable court shows include:

International Courts

Types and organization of courts

References

  1. ^ Walker, David (1980). The Oxford Companion to Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 301. ISBN 0-19-866110-X.
  2. ^ "Avalon Project - Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England - Book the Third - Chapter the Third : Of Courts in General". Avalon.law.yale.edu. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  3. ^ See generally 28 U.S.C. § 1: "The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of a Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices [ . . . ]" (italics added); 28 U.S.C. § 43(b): "Each court of appeals shall consist of the circuit judges of the circuit in regular active service." (italics added); 28 U.S.C. § 132(b) (in part): "Each district court shall consist of the district judge or judges for the district in regular active service." (italics added); 28 U.S.C. § 151 (in part): "In each judicial district, the bankruptcy judges in regular active service shall constitute a unit of the district court to be known as the bankruptcy court for that district [ . . . ]" (italics added).
  4. ^ a b Harper, Douglas. "court (n.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  5. ^ "COUR : Etymologie de COUR". Cnrtl.fr. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  6. ^ The Federalist No. 81, footnote 3.
  7. ^ Inc., US Legal,. "Jurisdiction – Civil Procedure". Civilprocedure.uslegal.com. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Jurisdiction, Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School.
  9. ^ a b von Mehren, Arthur T.; Murray, Peter L. (8 Jan 2007). Law in the United States. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139462198. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b Burnham,, William (2006). Introduction to the Law and Legal System of the United States (4th ed.). St. Paul (Minn.): Thomson-West. ISBN 9780314158987.
  11. ^ Judicial Process: Law, Courts, and Politics in the United States - David W. Neubauer, Stephen S. Meinhold. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-06-24.

External links

Antonin Scalia

Antonin Gregory Scalia ( (listen); March 11, 1936 – February 13, 2016) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016. Appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Scalia was described as the intellectual anchor for the originalist and textualist position in the Court's conservative wing.

Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey. He attended Xavier High School in Manhattan and then college at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School and spent six years in a Cleveland law firm before becoming a law school professor at the University of Virginia. In the early 1970s, he served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, eventually as an Assistant Attorney General. He spent most of the Carter years teaching at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the first faculty advisers of the fledgling Federalist Society. In 1982, Ronald Reagan appointed him as judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

In 1986, Reagan appointed him to the Supreme Court. Scalia was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, becoming the Court's first Italian-American justice. He served on the Court for nearly thirty years until his death on February 13, 2016.

Scalia espoused a conservative jurisprudence and ideology, advocating textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation. He was a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch, believing presidential power should be paramount in many areas. He believed that the Constitution permitted the death penalty and did not guarantee the right to abortion or same-sex marriage, and that affirmative action and most other policies that afforded special protected status to minority groups were unconstitutional. These positions earned him a reputation as one of the most conservative justices on the Court. He filed separate opinions in many cases, often castigating the Court's majority using scathing language. Scalia's most significant opinions include his lone dissent in Morrison v. Olson (against the constitutionality of an Independent-Counsel law), his majority opinion in Crawford v. Washington (defining a criminal defendant's confrontation right under the 6th Amendment), and his majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller (holding that the 2nd Amendment guarantees a right to individual handgun ownership).

Scalia was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018.

Badminton

Badminton is a racquet sport played using racquets to hit a shuttlecock across a net. Although it may be played with larger teams, the most common forms of the game are "singles" (with one player per side) and "doubles" (with two players per side). Badminton is often played as a casual outdoor activity in a yard or on a beach; formal games are played on a rectangular indoor court. Points are scored by striking the shuttlecock with the racquet and landing it within the opposing side's half of the court.

Each side may only strike the shuttlecock once before it passes over the net. Play ends once the shuttlecock has struck the floor or if a fault has been called by the umpire, service judge, or (in their absence) the opposing side.The shuttlecock is a feathered or (in informal matches) plastic projectile which flies differently from the balls used in many other sports. In particular, the feathers create much higher drag, causing the shuttlecock to decelerate more rapidly. Shuttlecocks also have a high top speed compared to the balls in other racquet sports. The flight of the shuttlecock gives the sport its distinctive nature.

The game developed in British India from the earlier game of battledore and shuttlecock. European play came to be dominated by Denmark but the game has become very popular in Asia, with recent competitions dominated by China. Since 1992, badminton has been a Summer Olympic sport with four events: men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, and women's doubles, with mixed doubles added four years later. At high levels of play, the sport demands excellent fitness: players require aerobic stamina, agility, strength, speed, and precision. It is also a technical sport, requiring good motor coordination and the development of sophisticated racquet movements.

Brown v. Board of Education

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that American state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional, even if the segregated schools are otherwise equal in quality. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Court's unanimous (9–0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," and therefore violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, the decision's 14 pages did not spell out any sort of method for ending racial segregation in schools, and the Court's second decision in Brown II (349 U.S. 294 (1955)) only ordered states to desegregate "with all deliberate speed".

The case originated with a lawsuit filed by the Brown family, a family of black Americans in Topeka, Kansas, after their local public school refused to enroll their daughter in the school closest to their home, but instead forced her to ride a bus to a blacks-only school further away. A number of other black families joined the lawsuit, and the Supreme Court later combined their case with several other similar lawsuits from other areas of the United States. At trial, the district court ruled in favor of the school board based on the Supreme Court's precedent in the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the Court had ruled that racial segregation was not in itself a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause if the facilities in question were otherwise equal, a doctrine that had come to be known as "separate but equal". The Browns appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case.

The Court's decision in Brown partially overruled Plessy v. Ferguson by declaring that the "separate but equal" notion was unconstitutional for American public schools and educational facilities. It paved the way for integration and was a major victory of the Civil Rights Movement, and a model for many future impact litigation cases. In the American South, especially the "Deep South", where racial segregation was deeply entrenched, the reaction to Brown was angry and stubborn. Many Southern governmental and political leaders embraced a plan known as "Massive Resistance", created by Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd, in order to frustrate attempts to force them to de-segregate their school systems. Four years later, in the case of Cooper v. Aaron, the Court reaffirmed its ruling in Brown, and explicitly stated that state officials and legislators had no power to nullify its ruling.

Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American judge, lawyer, and government official who currently serves as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He is currently the most senior associate justice on the Court following the retirement of Anthony Kennedy. Thomas succeeded Thurgood Marshall and is the second African American to serve on the Court. Among the current members of the Court he is the longest-serving justice, with a tenure of 10,012 days (27 years, 150 days) as of March 22, 2019.

Thomas grew up in Savannah, Georgia, and was educated at the College of the Holy Cross and at Yale Law School. He was appointed an Assistant Attorney General in Missouri in 1974, and subsequently practiced law there in the private sector. In 1979, he became a legislative assistant to Senator John Danforth (R-MO) and in 1981 was appointed Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Thomas Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush nominated Thomas for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He served in that role for 16 months, and on July 1, 1991, was nominated by Bush to fill Marshall's seat on the United States Supreme Court. Thomas's confirmation hearings were bitter and intensely fought, centering on an accusation that he had sexually harassed attorney Anita Hill, a subordinate at the Department of Education and subsequently at the EEOC. Hill claimed that Thomas had repeatedly made sexual and romantic overtures to her, despite her repeatedly rebuffing him and telling him to stop; Thomas and his supporters claimed that Hill, witnesses who came forward on her behalf, and her supporters had fabricated the allegations to prevent a black conservative from getting a seat on the Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate ultimately confirmed Thomas by a vote of 52–48.

Since joining the court, Thomas has taken a textualist approach, seeking to uphold the original meaning of the United States Constitution and statutes. He is also, along with fellow justice Neil Gorsuch, an advocate of natural law jurisprudence. Thomas is generally viewed as the most conservative member of the court. Thomas is also known for almost never speaking during oral arguments.

First Amendment to the United States Constitution

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which respect an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights was originally proposed to assuage Anti-Federalist opposition to Constitutional ratification. Initially, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress, and many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. Beginning with Gitlow v. New York (1925), the Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Court drew on Thomas Jefferson's correspondence to call for "a wall of separation between church and State", though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute. Speech rights were expanded significantly in a series of 20th and 21st-century court decisions which protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing, pornography, and school speech; these rulings also defined a series of exceptions to First Amendment protections. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964). Commercial speech, however, is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, and is therefore subject to greater regulation.

The Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, and applies to a wide variety of media. In Near v. Minnesota (1931) and New York Times v. United States (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint—pre-publication censorship—in almost all cases. The Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has also ruled that the amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.

Government of India

The Government of India (IAST: Bhārata Sarakāra), often abbreviated as GoI, is the union government created by the constitution of India as the legislative, executive and judicial authority of the union of 29 states and seven union territories of a constitutionally democratic republic. It is located in New Delhi, the capital of India.

International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice, abbreviated as ICJ, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It settles legal disputes between member states and gives advisory opinions to authorized UN organs and specialized agencies. It comprises a panel of 15 judges elected by the General Assembly and Security Council for nine-year terms. It is seated in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.

International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore exercise its jurisdiction only when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer situations to the Court. The ICC began functioning on 1 July 2002, the date that the Rome Statute entered into force. The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC's foundational and governing document. States which become party to the Rome Statute, for example by ratifying it, become member states of the ICC. As of March 2019, there are 124 ICC member states.

The ICC has four principal organs: the Presidency, the Judicial Divisions, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Registry. The President is the most senior judge chosen by his or her peers in the Judicial Division, which hears cases before the Court. The Office of the Prosecutor is headed by the Prosecutor who investigates crimes and initiates proceedings before the Judicial Division. The Registry is headed by the Registrar and is charged with managing all the administrative functions of the ICC, including the headquarters, detention unit, and public defense office.

The Office of the Prosecutor has opened ten official investigations and is also conducting an additional eleven preliminary examinations. Thus far, 44 individuals have been indicted in the ICC, including Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, and DR Congo vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba.

The ICC has faced a number of criticisms from states and civil society, including objections about its jurisdiction, accusations of bias, questioning of the fairness of its case-selection and trial procedures, and doubts about its effectiveness.

List of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest ranking judicial body in the United States. Its membership, as set by the Judiciary Act of 1869, consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, any six of whom would constitute a quorum. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution grants plenary power to the President of the United States to nominate, and with the advice and consent (confirmation) of the United States Senate, appoint justices to the Supreme Court. Justices have life tenure, and receive a salary which is set at $255,500 per year for the chief justice and at $244,400 per year for each associate justice as of 2014.The Supreme Court was created by Article III of the United States Constitution, which stipulates that the "judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court," and was organized by the 1st United States Congress. Through the Judiciary Act of 1789, Congress specified the Court's original and appellate jurisdiction, created thirteen judicial districts, and fixed the number of justices at six (one chief justice and five associate justices).Since 1789, Congress has occasionally altered the size of the Supreme Court, historically in response to the country's own expansion in size. An 1801 act would have decreased the Court's size to five members upon its next vacancy. However, an 1802 act negated the effects of the 1801 act upon the Court before any such vacancy occurred, maintaining the Court's size at six members. Later legislation increased its size to seven members in 1807, to nine in 1837, and to ten in 1863. An 1866 act was to have reduced the Court's size from ten members to seven upon its next three vacancies, and two vacancies did occur during this period. However, before a third vacancy occurred, the Judiciary Act of 1869 intervened, restoring the Court's size to nine members, where it has remained since.While the justices of the Supreme Court are appointed for life, many have retired or resigned. Beginning in the early 20th century, many justices who left the Court voluntarily did so by retiring from the Court without leaving the federal judiciary altogether. A retired justice, according to the United States Code, is no longer a member of the Supreme Court, but remains eligible to serve by designation as a judge of a U.S. Court of Appeals or District Court, and many retired justices have served in these capacities. Historically, the average length of service on the Court has been less than 15 years. However, since 1970 the average length of service has increased to about 26 years.

Roe v. Wade

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), is a landmark decision issued in 1973 by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of the constitutionality of laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions. The Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state's interests in regulating abortions: protecting women's health and protecting the potentiality of human life. Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the third trimester of pregnancy.

Later, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the Court rejected Roe's trimester framework while affirming its central holding that a woman has a right to abortion until fetal viability. The Roe decision defined "viable" as "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid." Justices in Casey acknowledged that viability may occur at 23 or 24 weeks, or sometimes even earlier, in light of medical advances.In disallowing many state and federal restrictions on abortion in the United States, Roe v. Wade prompted a national debate that continues today about issues including whether, and to what extent, abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, what methods the Supreme Court should use in constitutional adjudication, and what the role should be of religious and moral views in the political sphere. Roe v. Wade reshaped national politics, dividing much of the United States into pro-life and pro-choice camps, while activating grassroots movements on both sides.

Roe received significant criticism in the legal community, with the decision being widely seen as an extreme form of judicial activism. In a highly cited 1973 article in the Yale Law Journal, Social conservatives and Evangelicals are among the most critical of the decision. John Hart Ely criticized Roe as a decision that "is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be." Ely added: "What is frightening about Roe is that this super-protected right is not inferable from the language of the Constitution, the framers’ thinking respecting the specific problem in issue, any general value derivable from the provisions they included, or the nation's governmental structure." Professor Laurence Tribe had similar thoughts: "One of the most curious things about Roe is that, behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found."

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (, born Joan Ruth Bader; March 15, 1933) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice (after Sandra Day O'Connor) of four to be confirmed to the court (along with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who are still serving). Following O'Connor's retirement, and until Sotomayor joined the court, Ginsburg was the only female justice on the Supreme Court. During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents, which were noted by legal observers and in popular culture. She is generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the court. Ginsburg has authored notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia, Olmstead v. L.C., and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.

Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her older sister died when she was a baby, and her mother, one of her biggest sources of encouragement, died shortly before Ginsburg graduated from high school. She then earned her bachelor's degree at Cornell University, and became a wife and mother before starting law school at Harvard, where she was one of the few women in her class. Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first in her class. Following law school, Ginsburg turned to academia. She was a professor at Rutgers Law School and Columbia Law School, teaching civil procedure as one of the few women in her field.

Ginsburg spent a considerable part of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of gender equality and women's rights, winning multiple victories arguing before the Supreme Court. She advocated as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsels in the 1970s. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she served until her appointment to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg has received attention in American popular culture for her fiery liberal dissents and refusal to step down; she has been dubbed the "Notorious R.B.G."

Same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage) is the marriage of two persons of the same sex or gender, entered into in a civil or religious ceremony.

As of 1 January 2019, same-sex marriage is legally performed and recognized (nationwide or in some jurisdictions) in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay. Israel recognizes same-sex marriages entered into abroad as full marriages. Estonia recognizes foreign same-sex marriages to some degree, and a ministerial decision decreed that Armenia shall as well, though as of February 2019 there had been no actual cases. Same-sex marriage is also due to become legal in Costa Rica and Taiwan. Furthermore, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has issued a ruling which is expected to facilitate recognition in several countries in the Americas.The introduction of same-sex marriage (also called marriage equality) has varied by jurisdiction, and came about through legislative change to marriage law, court rulings based on constitutional guarantees of equality, recognition that it is allowed by existing marriage law, or by direct popular vote (via referendums and initiatives). The recognition of same-sex marriage is considered to be a human right and a civil right as well as a political, social, and religious issue. The most prominent supporters of same-sex marriage are human rights and civil rights organizations as well as the medical and scientific communities, while the most prominent opponents are religious groups. Polls consistently show continually rising support for the recognition of same-sex marriage in all developed democracies and in some developing democracies.

Scientific studies show that the financial, psychological, and physical well-being of gay people are enhanced by marriage, and that the children of same-sex parents benefit from being raised by married same-sex couples within a marital union that is recognized by law and supported by societal institutions. Social science research indicates that the exclusion of homosexuals from marriage stigmatizes and invites public discrimination against them, with research also repudiating the notion that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon restricting marriage to heterosexuals. Same-sex marriage can provide those in committed same-sex relationships with relevant government services and make financial demands on them comparable to that required of those in opposite-sex marriages, and also gives them legal protections such as inheritance and hospital visitation rights.Opposition to same-sex marriage is based on claims such as that homosexuality is unnatural and abnormal, that the recognition of same-sex unions will promote homosexuality in society, and that children are better off when raised by opposite-sex couples. These claims are refuted by science which shows that homosexuality is a natural and normal variation in human sexuality, that sexual orientation is not a choice, and that the children of same-sex couples fare just as well or even better than the children of opposite-sex couples.A study of nationwide data from across the United States from January 1999 to December 2015 revealed that the establishment of same-sex marriage is associated with a significant reduction in the rate of attempted suicide among children, with the effect being concentrated among children of a minority sexual orientation, resulting in approximately 134,000 fewer children attempting suicide each year in the United States.

Sandra Day O'Connor

Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is a retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, who served from her appointment in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan until her retirement in 2006. She was the first woman to serve on the Court.Prior to O'Connor's tenure on the Court, she was a judge and an elected official in Arizona serving as the first female Majority Leader of a state senate as the Republican leader in the Arizona Senate. Upon her nomination to the Court, O'Connor was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. On July 1, 2005, she announced her intention to retire effective upon the confirmation of a successor. Samuel Alito was nominated to take her seat in October 2005, and joined the Court on January 31, 2006.

As a moderate Republican, O'Connor tended to approach each case narrowly without arguing for sweeping precedents. She most frequently sided with the Court's conservative bloc; having the swing opinion in many decisions. She often wrote concurring opinions that limited the reach of the majority holding. Her majority opinions in landmark cases include Grutter v. Bollinger and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. She also wrote in part the per curiam majority opinion in Bush v. Gore, and was one of three co-authors of the lead opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Several publications have named her among the most powerful women in the world. On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States, by President Barack Obama.

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial court and the final court of appeal under the Constitution of India, the highest constitutional court, with the power of judicial review. Consisting of the Chief Justice of India and a maximum of 31 judges, it has extensive powers in the form of original, appellate and advisory jurisdictions.As the final court of appeal of the country, it takes up appeals primarily against verdicts of the high courts of various states of the Union and other courts and tribunals. It safeguards fundamental rights of citizens and settles disputes between various government authorities as well as the central government vs state governments or state governments versus another state government in the country. As an advisory court, it hears matters which may specifically be referred to it under the constitution by President of India. It also may take cognisance of matters on its own (or suo moto), without anyone drawing its attention to them. The law declared by the supreme court becomes binding on all courts within India and also by the union and state governments. Per Article 142 of the constitution, it is the duty of the president to enforce the decrees of the supreme court.

Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States (also referred to by the acronym SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, it has original jurisdiction over a small range of cases, such as suits between two or more states, and those involving ambassadors. It also has ultimate (and largely discretionary) appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of federal constitutional or statutory law. The Court has the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution or an executive act for being unlawful. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction. The Court may decide cases having political overtones, but it has ruled that it does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions. Each year it agrees to hear about 100–150 of the more than 7,000 cases that it is asked to review.According to federal statute, the Court normally consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Once appointed, justices have lifetime tenure unless they resign, retire, or are removed from office. Each justice has a single vote in deciding the cases argued before it, the chief justice's vote carries no more weight. However, when the Chief Justice is in the majority they decide who writes the court's opinion; this is otherwise assigned by the senior justice in the majority. In modern discourse, the justices are often categorized as having conservative, moderate, or liberal philosophies of law and of judicial interpretation. While a far greater number of cases in recent history have been decided unanimously, decisions in cases of the highest profile have often come down to just one single vote, exemplifying the justices' alignment according to these categories. The Court meets in the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. Its law-enforcement arm, the United States Marshals Service, is under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Tennis

Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a tennis racket that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent's court. The object of the game is to maneuver the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a valid return. The player who is unable to return the ball will not gain a point, while the opposite player will.

Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society and at all ages. The sport can be played by anyone who can hold a racket, including wheelchair users. The modern game of tennis originated in Birmingham, England, in the late 19th century as lawn tennis. It had close connections both to various field (lawn) games such as croquet and bowls as well as to the older racket sport today called real tennis. During most of the 19th century, in fact, the term tennis referred to real tennis, not lawn tennis.

The rules of modern tennis have changed little since the 1890s. Two exceptions are that from 1908 to 1961 the server had to keep one foot on the ground at all times, and the adoption of the tiebreak in the 1970s. A recent addition to professional tennis has been the adoption of electronic review technology coupled with a point-challenge system, which allows a player to contest the line call of a point, a system known as Hawk-Eye.

Tennis is played by millions of recreational players and is also a popular worldwide spectator sport. The four Grand Slam tournaments (also referred to as the Majors) are especially popular: the Australian Open played on hard courts, the French Open played on red clay courts, Wimbledon played on grass courts, and the US Open also played on hard courts.

Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an American lawyer, serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court's 96th justice and its first African-American justice. Prior to his judicial service, he successfully argued several cases before the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board of Education.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Marshall graduated from the Howard University School of Law in 1933. He established a private legal practice in Baltimore before founding the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he served as executive director. In that position, he argued several cases before the Supreme Court, including Smith v. Allwright, Shelley v. Kraemer, and Brown v. Board of Education, which held that racial segregation in public education is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Marshall to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Four years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Marshall as the United States Solicitor General. In 1967, Johnson successfully nominated Marshall to succeed retiring Associate Justice Tom C. Clark. Marshall retired during the administration of President George H. W. Bush, and was succeeded by Clarence Thomas.

United States Constitution

The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress (Article One); the executive, consisting of the President (Article Two); and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts (Article Three). Articles Four, Five and Six embody concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments, the states in relationship to the federal government, and the shared process of constitutional amendment. Article Seven establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it. It is regarded as the oldest written and codified national constitution in force.Since the Constitution came into force in 1789, it has been amended 27 times, including an amendment to repeal a previous one, in order to meet the needs of a nation that has profoundly changed since the eighteenth century. In general, the first ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, offer specific protections of individual liberty and justice and place restrictions on the powers of government. The majority of the seventeen later amendments expand individual civil rights protections. Others address issues related to federal authority or modify government processes and procedures. Amendments to the United States Constitution, unlike ones made to many constitutions worldwide, are appended to the document. All four pages of the original U.S. Constitution are written on parchment.According to the United States Senate: "The Constitution's first three words—We the People—affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens. For over two centuries the Constitution has remained in force because its framers wisely separated and balanced governmental powers to safeguard the interests of majority rule and minority rights, of liberty and equality, and of the federal and state governments."The first permanent constitution of its kind, adopted by the people's representatives for an expansive nation, it is interpreted, supplemented, and implemented by a large body of constitutional law, and has influenced the constitutions of other nations.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (in case citations, 9th Cir.) is a U.S. Federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:

District of Alaska

District of Arizona

Central District of California

Eastern District of California

Northern District of California

Southern District of California

District of Hawaii

District of Idaho

District of Montana

District of Nevada

District of Oregon

Eastern District of Washington

Western District of WashingtonIt also has appellate jurisdiction over the following territorial courts:

District of Guam

District of the Northern Mariana IslandsHeadquartered in San Francisco, California, the Ninth Circuit is by far the largest of the thirteen courts of appeals, with 29 active judgeships. The court's regular meeting places are Seattle at the William Kenzo Nakamura United States Courthouse, Portland at the Pioneer Courthouse, San Francisco at the James R. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals Building, and Pasadena at the Richard H. Chambers U.S. Court of Appeals.

Panels of the court occasionally travel to hear cases in other locations within the circuit. Although the judges travel around the circuit, the court arranges its hearings so that cases from the northern region of the circuit are heard in Seattle or Portland, cases from southern California are heard in Pasadena, and cases from northern California, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii are heard in San Francisco. For lawyers who must come and present their cases to the court in person, this administrative grouping of cases helps to reduce the time and cost of travel.

Volleyball

Volleyball is a popular team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules. It has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since Tokyo 1964.

The complete rules are extensive, but simply, play proceeds as follows: a player on one of the teams begins a 'rally' by serving the ball (tossing or releasing it and then hitting it with a hand or arm), from behind the back boundary line of the court, over the net, and into the receiving team's court. The receiving team must not let the ball be grounded within their court. The team may touch the ball up to 3 times, but individual players may not touch the ball twice consecutively. Typically, the first two touches are used to set up for an attack, an attempt to direct the ball back over the net in such a way that the serving team is unable to prevent it from being grounded in their court.

The rally continues, with each team allowed as many as three consecutive touches, until either (1): a team makes a kill, grounding the ball on the opponent's court and winning the rally; or (2): a team commits a fault and loses the rally. The team that wins the rally is awarded a point and serves the ball to start the next rally. A few of the most common faults include:

causing the ball to touch the ground or floor outside the opponents' court or without first passing over the net;

catching and throwing the ball;

double hit: two consecutive contacts with the ball made by the same player;

four consecutive contacts with the ball made by the same team;

net foul: touching the net during play;

foot fault: the foot crosses over the boundary line when serving.The ball is usually played with the hands or arms, but players can legally strike or push (short contact) the ball with any part of the body.

A number of consistent techniques have evolved in volleyball, including spiking and blocking (because these plays are made above the top of the net, the vertical jump is an athletic skill emphasized in the sport) as well as passing, setting, and specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures.

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