Supreme court

The supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of courts in many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, apex court, and high (or final) court of appeal. Broadly speaking, the decisions of a supreme court are not subject to further review by any other court. Supreme courts typically function primarily as appellate courts, hearing appeals from decisions of lower trial courts, or from intermediate-level appellate courts.[1]

However, not all highest courts are named as such. Civil law states tend not to have a single highest court. Additionally, the highest court in some jurisdictions is not named the "Supreme Court", for example, the High Court of Australia; this is because decisions by the High Court could formerly be appealed to the Privy Council. On the other hand, in some places the court named the "Supreme Court" is not in fact the highest court; examples include the New York Supreme Court, the Supreme Courts of several Canadian provinces/territories and the former Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales and Supreme Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland, which are all subordinate to higher courts of appeal.

The idea of a supreme court owes much to the framers of the United States constitution. It was while debating the division of powers between the legislative and executive departments that delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention established the parameters for the national judiciary. Creating a "third branch" of government was a novel idea; in the English tradition, judicial matters had been treated as an aspect of royal (executive) authority. It was also proposed that the judiciary should have a role in checking the executive power to exercise a veto or to revise laws. In the end the Framers of the Constitution compromised by sketching only a general outline of the judiciary, vesting of federal judicial power in "one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish."[2][3] They delineated neither the exact powers and prerogatives of the Supreme Court nor the organization of the Judicial Branch as a whole.

Some countries have multiple "supreme courts" whose respective jurisdictions have different geographical extents, or which are restricted to particular areas of law. Some countries with a federal system of government may have both a federal supreme court (such as the Supreme Court of the United States), and supreme courts for each member state (such as the Supreme Court of Nevada), with the former having jurisdiction over the latter only to the extent that the federal constitution extends federal law over state law. However, other federations, such as Canada, may have a supreme court of general jurisdiction, able to decide any question of law. Jurisdictions with a civil law system often have a hierarchy of administrative courts separate from the ordinary courts, headed by a supreme administrative court as is the case in the Netherlands. A number of jurisdictions also maintain a separate constitutional court (first developed in the Czechoslovak Constitution of 1920), such as Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Russia, Spain and South Africa. Within the former British Empire, the highest court within a colony was often called the "Supreme Court", even though appeals could be made from that court to the United Kingdom's Privy Council (based in London). A number of Commonwealth jurisdictions retain this system, but many others have reconstituted their own highest court as a court of last resort, with the right of appeal to the Privy Council being abolished.

In jurisdictions using a common law system, the doctrine of stare decisis applies, whereby the principles applied by the supreme court in its decisions are binding upon all lower courts; this is intended to apply a uniform interpretation and implementation of the law. In civil law jurisdictions the doctrine of stare decisis is not generally considered to apply, so the decisions of the supreme court are not necessarily binding beyond the immediate case before it; however, in practice the decisions of the supreme court usually provide a very strong precedent, or jurisprudence constante, for both itself and all lower courts.

Common law jurisdictions

Bangladesh

The Supreme Court of Bangladesh is created by the provisions of the Constitution of Bangladesh, 1972. There are two Divisions of the Supreme Court, i.e. (a) Appellate Division and (b) High Court Division. Appellate Division is the highest Court of Appeal and usually does not exercise the powers of a court of first instance. Whereas, the High Court Division is a Court of first instance in writ/judicial review, company and admiralty matters.

Canada

The Nine
Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada was established in 1875 but only became the highest court in the country in 1949 when the right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was fully abolished[a]. This court hears appeals from the courts of appeal from the provinces and territories, and also appeals from the Federal Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court is a "General Court of Appeal."[4] It can decide any question of law considered by the lower courts, including constitutional law, federal law, and provincial law. The court's decisions are final and binding on the federal courts and the courts from all provinces and territories. The title "Supreme" can be confusing because, for example, the Supreme Court of British Columbia does not have the final say and controversial cases heard there often get appealed in higher courts - it is in fact one of the lower courts in such a process.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the Supreme Court of Hong Kong (now known as the High Court of Hong Kong) was the final court of appeal during its colonial times which ended with transfer of sovereignty in 1997. The final adjudication power, as in any other British Colonies, rested with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) in London, United Kingdom. Now the power of final adjudication is vested in the Court of Final Appeal created in 1997. Under the Basic Law, its constitution, the territory remains a common law jurisdiction. Consequently, judges from other common law jurisdictions (including England and Wales) can be recruited and continue to serve in the judiciary according to Article 92 of the Basic Law. On the other hand, the power of interpretation of the Basic Law itself is vested in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) in Beijing (without retroactive effect), and the courts are authorised to interpret the Basic Law when trying cases, in accordance with Article 158 of the Basic Law. This arrangement became controversial in light of the right of abode issue in 1999, raising concerns for judicial independence.

India

In India, the Supreme Court of India was created on January 28, 1950 after adoption of the Constitution. Article 141 of the Constitution of India states that the law declared by Supreme Court is to be binding on all Courts within the territory of India. It is the highest court in India and has ultimate judicial authority to interpret the Constitution and decide questions of national law (including local bylaws). The Supreme Court is also vested with the power of judicial review to ensure the application of the rule of law.

Note that within the constitutional framework of India, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has a special status vis-a-vis the other states of India. Article 370 of the Constitution of India carves out certain exceptions for J&K. However, the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954 makes Article 141 applicable to the state of J&K and hence law declared by the Supreme Court of India is equally applicable to all courts of J&K including the High Court.

Ireland

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the Republic of Ireland. It has authority to interpret the constitution, and strike down laws and activities of the state that it finds to be unconstitutional. It is also the highest authority in the interpretation of the law. Constitutionally it must have authority to interpret the constitution but its further appellate jurisdiction from lower courts is defined by law. The Irish Supreme Court consists of its presiding member, the Chief Justice, and seven other judges. Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President in accordance with the binding advice of the Government. The Supreme Court sits in the Four Courts in Dublin.

Israel

Israel's Supreme Court is at the head of the court system in the State of Israel. It is the highest judicial instance. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem. The area of its jurisdiction is the entire State. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme Court itself. The Israeli supreme court is both an appellate court and the high court of justice. As an appellate court, the Supreme Court considers cases on appeal (both criminal and civil) on judgments and other decisions of the District Courts. It also considers appeals on judicial and quasi-judicial decisions of various kinds, such as matters relating to the legality of Knesset elections and disciplinary rulings of the Bar Association. As the High Court of Justice (Hebrew: Beit Mishpat Gavoha Le'Zedek בית משפט גבוה לצדק; also known by its initials as Bagatz בג"ץ), the Supreme Court rules as a court of first instance, primarily in matters regarding the legality of decisions of State authorities: Government decisions, those of local authorities and other bodies and persons performing public functions under the law, and direct challenges to the constitutionality of laws enacted by the Knesset. The court has broad discretionary authority to rule on matters in which it considers it necessary to grant relief in the interests of justice, and which are not within the jurisdiction of another court or tribunal. The High Court of Justice grants relief through orders such as injunction, mandamus and Habeas Corpus, as well as through declaratory judgments. The Supreme Court can also sit at a further hearing on its own judgment. In a matter on which the Supreme Court has ruled - whether as a court of appeals or as the High Court of Justice - with a panel of three or more justices, it may rule at a further hearing with a panel of a larger number of justices. A further hearing may be held if the Supreme Court makes a ruling inconsistent with a previous ruling or if the Court deems that the importance, difficulty or novelty of a ruling of the Court justifies such hearing. The Supreme Court also holds the unique power of being able to order "trial de novo" (a retrial).

Nauru

In Nauru, there is no single highest court for all types of cases. The Supreme Court has final jurisdiction on constitutional matters, but any other case may be appealed further to the Appellate Court. In addition, an agreement between Nauru and Australia in 1976 provides for appeals from the Supreme Court of Nauru to the High Court of Australia in both criminal and civil cases, with the notable exception of constitutional cases.[5][6]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the right of appeal to the Privy Council was abolished following the passing of the Supreme Court Act (2003). A right of appeal to the Privy Council remains for criminal cases which were decided before the Supreme Court was created, but it is likely that the successful appeal by Mark Lundy to the Privy Council in 2013 will be the last appeal to the Board from New Zealand.

The new Supreme Court of New Zealand was officially established at the beginning of 2004, although it did not come into operation until July. The High Court of New Zealand was until 1980 known as the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has a purely appellate jurisdiction and hears appeals from the Court of Appeal of New Zealand. In some cases, an appeal may be removed directly to the Supreme Court from the High Court. For certain cases, particularly cases which commenced in the District Court, a lower court (typically the High Court or the Court of Appeal) may be the court of final jurisdiction.

Pakistan

The Supreme Court has been the apex court for Pakistan since the declaration of the republic in 1956 (previously the Privy Council had that function). The Supreme Court has the final say on matters of constitutional law, federal law or on matters of mixed federal and provincial competence. It can hear appeals on matters of provincial competence only if a matter of a constitutional nature is raised.

With respect to Pakistan's territories (i.e. FATA, Azad Kashmir, Northern Areas and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)) the Supreme Court's jurisdiction is rather limited and varies from territory to territory; it can hear appeals only of a constitutional nature from FATA and Northern Areas, while ICT generally functions the same as provinces. Azad Kashmir has its own courts system and the constitution of Pakistan does not apply to it as such; appeals from Azad Kashmir relate to its relationship with Pakistan.

The provinces have their own courts system, with the High Court as the apex court, except insofar as where an appeal can go to the Supreme Court as mentioned above.

United Kingdom

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the ultimate court for criminal and civil matters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and for civil matters in Scotland. (The supreme court for criminal matters in Scotland is the High Court of Justiciary.) The Supreme Court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 with effect from 1 October 2009, replacing and assuming the judicial functions of the House of Lords. Devolution issues under the Scotland Act 1998, Government of Wales Act and Northern Ireland Act were also transferred to the new Supreme Court by the Constitutional Reform Act, from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

In respect of Community Law the Supreme Court is subject to the decisions of the European Court of Justice. Since there can be no appeal from the Supreme Court, there is an interlocutory procedure by which the Supreme Court may refer to the European Court questions of European law which arise in cases before it, and obtain a definitive ruling before the Supreme Court gives its judgment.

The Supreme Court shares its members and accommodation at the Middlesex Guildhall in London with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council which hears final appeals from certain smaller Commonwealth countries, admiralty cases, and certain appeals from the ecclesiastical courts and statutory private jurisdictions, such as professional and academic bodies.

(The Constitutional Reform Act also renamed the Supreme Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland to the Court of Judicature, and the rarely cited Supreme Court of Judicature for England and Wales as the Senior Courts of England and Wales).

The Supreme Court was set up in 2009; until then the House of Lords was the ultimate court in addition to being a legislative body, and the Lord Chancellor, with legislative and executive functions, was also a senior judge in the House of Lords.

United States

The Supreme Court of the United States, established in 1789, is the highest federal court in the United States, with powers of judicial review first asserted in Calder v. Bull (1798) in Justice Iredell's dissenting opinion. The power was later given binding authority by Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison (1803). There are currently nine seats on the US Supreme Court.

Each U.S. state has its own state supreme court, which is the highest authority interpreting that state's law and administering that state's judiciary. Two states, Oklahoma and Texas, each have two separate highest courts that hear criminal and civil appellate matters.

In Texas, the state's Court of Criminal Appeals hears criminal appeals and has sole authority to grant the writ of habeas corpus to a person who has been convicted of a felony, but the Texas Supreme Court also hears appeals in juvenile delinquency matters in additional to civil cases as conventionally defined. Although juvenile cases fall under the Texas Family Code and are classified as civil proceedings, they are "quasi-criminal" in nature. In re M.A.F., 966 S.W.2d 448, 450 (Tex. 1998); see In re L.D.C., 400 S.W.3d 572, 574 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013).

Although Delaware has a specialized court, the Court of Chancery, which hears cases in equity and many disputes involving corporate governance because many corporations chose to incorporate in Delaware regardless of where in the United States their operations and head office may be located, it is not a supreme court because the Delaware Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction over it.[7]

The official names of state supreme courts vary, as do the titles of its members, which can cause confusion between jurisdictions because one state may use a name for its highest court that another uses for a lower court. In New York, Maryland, and the District of Columbia the highest court is called the Court of Appeals, a name used by many states for their intermediate appellate courts. Further, trial courts of general jurisdiction in New York are called the Supreme Court, and the intermediate appellate court is called the Supreme Court, Appellate Division. In West Virginia, the highest court of the state is the Supreme Court of Appeals. In Maine and Massachusetts the highest court is styled the "Supreme Judicial Court"; the last is the oldest appellate court of continuous operation in the Western Hemisphere. Even within the same jurisdiction, the titles for judicial officeholders can cause confusion. In Texas the members of the Supreme Court and of the 14 intermediate courts of appeals are Justices, while the members of the Court of Criminal Appeals carry the title Judge, which is also used generically. Judges at the lowest trial-court level are called Justices of the Peace or JPs.

Civil law jurisdictions

The Roman law and the Corpus Juris Civilis are generally held to be the historical model for civil law. From the late 18th century onwards, civil law jurisdictions began to codify their laws, most of all in civil codes.

Argentina

The Supreme Court functions as a last resort tribunal. Its rulings cannot be appealed. It also decides on cases dealing with the interpretation of the constitution (for example, it can overturn a law passed by Congress if it deems it unconstitutional).

Austria

In Austria, the Austrian Constitution of 1920 (based on a draft by Hans Kelsen) introduced judicial review of legislative acts for their constitutionality. This function is performed by the Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof), which is also charged with the review of administrative acts on whether they violate constitutionally guaranteed rights. Other than that, administrative acts are reviewed by the Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgerichtshof). The Supreme Court (Oberste Gerichtshof (OGH)), stands at the top of Austria's system of "ordinary courts" (ordentliche Gerichte) as the final instance in issues of private law and criminal law.

Brazil

In Brazil, the Supreme Federal Tribunal (Supremo Tribunal Federal) is the highest court. It is both the constitutional court and the court of last resort in Brazilian law. It only reviews cases that may be unconstitutional or final habeas corpus pleads for criminal cases. It also judges, in original jurisdiction, cases involving members of congress, senators, ministers of state, members of the high courts and the President and Vice-President of the Republic. The Superior Court of Justice (Tribunal Superior de Justiça) reviews State and Federal Circuit courts decisions for civil law and criminal law cases, when dealing with federal law or conflicting rulings. The Superior Labour Tribunal (Tribunal Superior do Trabalho) reviews cases involving labour law. The Superior Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral) is the court of last resort of electoral law, and also oversees general elections. The Superior Military Tribunal (Tribunal Superior Militar) is the highest court in matters of federal military law.

Croatia

In Croatia, the supreme jurisdiction is given to the Supreme Court, which secures a uniform application of laws. The Constitutional Court exists to verify constitutionality of laws and regulations, as well as decide on individual complaints on decisions on governmental bodies. It also decides on jurisdictional disputes between the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

Denmark

In Denmark, all ordinary courts have original jurisdiction to hear all types of cases, including cases of a constitutional or administrative nature. As a result, there exists no special constitutional court, and therefore final jurisdiction is vested with the Danish Supreme Court (Højesteret) which was established 14 February 1661 by king Frederik III.

France

In France, supreme appellate jurisdiction is divided among three judicial bodies:

When there is jurisdictional dispute between judicial and administrative courts: the Court of Arbitration (Tribunal des conflits), which is empanelled half from the Court of Cassation and half from the Council of State and presided over by the Minister of Justice, is called together to settle the dispute or hand down a final decision.

The High Court (Haute Cour) exists only to impeach the President of the French Republic in case of "breach of his duties patently incompatible with his continuing in office". Since a constitutional amendment of 2007, the French Constitution states that the High Court is composed of all members of both Houses of Parliament. As of 2018, it has never been convened.

While the President isn't, members of the French government are subject to the same laws as other French citizens. However, since 1993, a new and different court was introduced to judge them in place of normal courts, the Justice Court of the Republic (Cour de Justice de la République). It has since been highly criticized and is scheduled for deletion in a constitutional amendment due for 2019.

Germany

In Germany, there is no de jure single supreme court. Instead, cases are handled by numerous federal courts, depending on their nature.

Final interpretation of the German Constitution, the Grundgesetz, is the task of the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court), which is the de facto highest German court, as it can declare both federal and state legislation ineffective, and has the power to overrule decisions of all other federal courts, despite not being a regular court of appeals on itself in the German court system. It is also the only court possessing the power and authority to outlaw political parties.

When it comes to civil and criminal cases, the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice) is at the top of the hierarchy of courts. The other branches of the German judicial system each have their own appellate systems, each topped by a high court; these are the Bundessozialgericht (Federal Social Court) for matters of social security, the Bundesarbeitsgericht (Federal Labour Court) for employment and labour, the Bundesfinanzhof (Federal Fiscal Court) for taxation and financial issues, and the Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Federal Administrative Court) for administrative law. The so-called Gemeinsamer Senat der Obersten Gerichtshöfe (Joint Senate of the Supreme Courts) is not a supreme court in itself, but an ad-hoc body that is convened in only when one supreme court intends to diverge from another supreme court's legal opinion or when a certain case exceeds the authority of one court. As the courts have well-defined areas of responsibility, situations like these are rather rare and so, the Joint Senate gathers very infrequently, and only to consider matters which are mostly definitory.

Iceland

The Supreme Court of Iceland (Icelandic: Hæstiréttur Íslands, lit. Highest Court of Iceland) was founded under Act No. 22/1919 and held its first session on 16 February 1920.[8] The Court holds the highest judicial power in Iceland. The court system was transformed from a two level system to a three level system in 2018 with the establishment of Landsréttur.[9]

India

The Supreme Court of India, also known colloquially as the 'apex court', is the highest judicial body in the Republic of India. Any decision taken by it is final and binding, and can only be modified in some cases (death sentence, etc.) by the President of India. It has several jurisdiction like 1. Original 2.Appellate 3. Advisory

It is also known as court of records, i. e. all judgements are recorded and printed. These are cited in lower courts as case - law in various cases.

Italy

Italy follows the French system of different supreme courts.

The Italian court of last resort for most disputes is the Corte Suprema di Cassazione. There is also a separate constitutional court, the Corte costituzionale, which has a duty of judicial review, and which can strike down legislation as being in conflict with the Constitution.

Japan

In Japan, the Supreme Court of Japan is called 最高裁判所 (Saikō-Saibansho; called 最高裁 Saikō-Sai for short), located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, and is the highest court in Japan. It has ultimate judicial authority within Japan to interpret the Constitution and decide questions of national law (including local by laws). It has the power of judicial review (i.e., it can declare Acts of Diet and Local Assembly, and administrative actions, unconstitutional).

Luxembourg

In Luxembourg, challenges on the conformity of the law to the Constitution are brought before the Cour Constitutionnelle (Constitutional Court). — The most used and common procedure to present these challenges is by way of the "question préjudicielle" (prejudicial question).
The Court of last resort for civil and criminal proceedings is the "Cour de Cassation".
For administrative proceedings the highest court is the "Cour Administrative" (Administrative Court).

Macau

The supreme court of Macau is the Court of Final Appeal (Portuguese: Tribunal de Última Instância; Chinese: 澳門終審法院).

Mexico

The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (Spanish: Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación) is the highest court in Mexico.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands is the highest court. Its decisions, known as "arresten", are absolutely final. The court is banned from testing legislation against the constitution, pursuant to the principle of the sovereignty of the States-General; the court can, however, test legislation against some treaties. Also, the ordinary courts in the Netherlands, including the Hoge Raad, do not deal with administrative law, which is dealt with in separate administrative courts, the highest of which is the Council of State (Raad van State)

Philippines

While the Philippines is generally considered a civil law nation, its Supreme Court is heavily modeled after the American Supreme Court. This can be attributed to the fact that the Philippines was colonized by both Spain and the United States, and the system of laws of both nations strongly influenced the development of Philippine laws and jurisprudence. Even as the body of Philippine laws remain mostly codified, the Philippine Civil Code expressly recognizes that decisions of the Supreme Court "form part of the law of the land", belonging to the same class as statutes. The 1987 Philippine Constitution also explicitly grants to the Supreme Court the power of judicial review over laws and executive actions. The Supreme Court is composed of 1 Chief Justice and 14 Associate Justices. The court sits either en banc or in divisions, depending on the nature of the case to be decided.

People's Republic of China

In the judicial system of mainland China the highest court of appeal is the Supreme People's Court. This supervises the administration of justice by all subordinate "local" and "special" people's courts, and is the court of last resort for the whole People's Republic of China except for Macau and Hong Kong

Portugal

In Portugal, there are several supreme courts, each with a specific jurisdiction:

Until 2003, a fifth supreme court also existed for the military jurisdiction, this being the Supreme Military Court (Supremo Tribunal Militar). Presently, in time of peace, the supreme court for military justice matters is the Supreme Court of Justice, which now includes four military judges.

Republic of China

In the Republic of China (Taiwan), there are three different courts of last resort:

  • Supreme Court of the Republic of China (中華民國最高法院): civil and criminal cases.
  • Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of China (中華民國最高行政法院): executive cases.
  • Council of Grand Justices (大法官會議): interpretation of the Constitution, interpretation of laws and regulations, dissolution of political parties in violation of the Constitution, trial of impeachments against the President or Vice President.

The Council of Grand Justices, consisting of 15 justices and mainly dealing with constitutional issues, is the counterpart of constitutional courts in some countries.

All three courts are directly under the Judicial Yuan, whose president also serves as Chief Justice in the Council of Grand Justices.

Scotland

Founded by papal bull in 1532, the Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland, and the High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court. However, the absolute highest court (excluding criminal matters) is the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Spain

Spanish Supreme Court is the highest court for all cases in Spain (both private and public). Only those cases related to human rights can be appealed at the Constitutional Court (which also decides about acts accordance with Spanish Constitution).
In Spain, high courts cannot create binding precedents;[10] however, lower rank courts usually observe Supreme Court interpretations. In most private law cases, two Supreme Court judgements supporting a claim are needed to appeal at the Supreme Court.[11]
Five sections form the Spanish Supreme court:

  • Section one judges private law cases (including commercial law).
  • Section two decides about criminal appeals.
  • Section three judges administrative cases and controls government normative powers.
  • Section four is dedicated to labour law.
  • Section five is dedicated to military justice.

Sweden

In Sweden, the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court respectively function as the highest courts of the land. The Supreme Administrative Court considers cases concerning disputes between individuals and administrative organs, as well as disputes among administrative organs, while the Supreme Court considers all other cases. The judges are appointed by the Government. In most cases, the Supreme Courts will only grant leave to appeal a case (prövningstillstånd) if the case involves setting a precedent in the interpretation of the law. Exceptions are issues where the Supreme Court is the court of first instance. Such cases include an application for a retrial of a criminal case in the light of new evidence, and prosecutions made against an incumbent minister of the Government for severe neglect of duty. If a lower court has to try a case which involves a question where there is no settled interpretation of the law, it can also refer the question to the relevant Supreme Court for an answer.

Switzerland

In Switzerland, the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland[12] is the final court of appeals. Due to Switzerland's system of direct democracy, it has no authority to review the constitutionality of federal statutes, but the people can strike down a proposed law by referendum. According to settled case law, however, the Court is authorised to review the compliance of all Swiss law with certain categories of international law, especially the European Convention of Human Rights.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka was created in 1972 after the adoption of a new Constitution. The Supreme Court is the highest and final superior court of record and is empowered to exercise its powers, subject to the provisions of the Constitution. The court rulings take precedence over all lower Courts. The Sri Lanka judicial system is complex blend of both common-law and civil-law. In some cases such as capital punishment, the decision may be passed on to the President of the Republic for clemency petitions. However, when there is 2/3 majority in the parliament in favour of president (as with present), the supreme court and its judges' powers become nullified as they could be fired from their positions according to the Constitution, if the president wants. Therefore, in such situations, Civil law empowerment vanishes.

South Africa

In South Africa, a "two apex" system existed from 1994 to 2013. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) was created in 1994 and replaced the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa as the highest court of appeal in non-constitutional matters. The SCA is subordinate to the Constitutional Court, which is the highest court in matters involving the interpretation and application of the Constitution. But in August 2013 the Constitution was amended to make the Constitutional Court the country's single apex court, superior to the SCA in all matters, both constitutional and non-constitutional.

Thailand

Historically, citizens appealed directly to the King along his route to places out of the Palace. A Thai King would adjudicate all disputes. During the reign of King Chulalongkorn, an official department for appeals was set up, and, after Thailand adopted a western-styled government, Thai Supreme Court was established in 1891.

At present, the Supreme Court of Thailand retains the important status as the highest court of justice in the country. Operating separately from the Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court, the judgement of the Supreme Court is considered as final.

United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates, the Federal Supreme Court of the United Arab Emirates was created in 1973 after the adoption of the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the highest and final superior court of record and is empowered to exercise its powers, subject to the provisions of the Constitution. The court rulings take precedence over all lower Courts. The Emirati judicial system is complex blend of both Islamic law and civil law. In some cases such as capital punishment, the decision may be passed on to the President of the country (currently Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan).[13]

Other civil law jurisdictions

Mixed-system jurisdictions

Indonesia

Law of Indonesia at the national level is based on a combination of civil law from the tradition of Roman-Dutch law and customary law from the tradition of Adat.[14] Law in regional jurisdictions can vary from province to province, including even Sharia law,[15] for example Islamic criminal law in Aceh, though even at the national level, individual justices can cite sharia or other forms of non-Dutch law in their legal opinions.

The Supreme Court of Indonesia is the main judicial arm of the state, functioning as the final court of appeal as well as a means to re-open cases previously closed. The Supreme Court, which consists of a total of 51 justices, also oversees the regional high courts. It was founded at the country's independence in 1945.

The Constitutional Court of Indonesia, on the other hand, is a part of the judicial branch tasked with review of bills and government actions for constitutionality, as well as regulation of the interactions between various arms of the state. The constitutional amendment to establish the court was passed in 2001, and the court itself was established in 2003.[16] The Constitutional Court consists of nine justices serving nine year terms, and they're appointed in tandem by the Supreme Court, the President of Indonesia and the People's Representative Council.[17]

Soviet-model jurisdictions

In most nations with constitutions modelled after the Soviet Union, the legislature was given the power of being the court of last resort. In the People's Republic of China, the final power to interpret the law is vested in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC). This power includes the power to interpret the basic laws of Hong Kong and Macau, the constitutional documents of the two special administrative regions which are common law and Portuguese-based legal system jurisdictions respectively. This power is a legislative power and not a judicial one in that an interpretation by the NPCSC does not affect cases which have already been decided.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Supreme court - Define Supreme court at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.com.
  2. ^ Pushaw Jr., Robert J. "Essays on Article III: Judicial Vesting Clause". Heritage Guide to the Constitution. Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Watson, Bradley C. S. "Essays on Article III: Supreme Court". Heritage Guide to the Constitution. Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  4. ^ Constitution Act, 1867, s. 101.
  5. ^ "Nauru: Courts & Judgments", United States Department of State
  6. ^ Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Nauru relating to Appeals to the High Court of Australia from the Supreme Court of Nauru, 1976
  7. ^ "Overview of the Delaware Court System". Delaware Judicial Information Center. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
  8. ^ "Hæstiréttur Íslands". haestirettur.is.
  9. ^ "Um Landsrétt". www.landsrettur.is (in Icelandic). Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  10. ^ Spanish Civil Code, article 1
  11. ^ Pablo Contreras, Pedro de (ed.). "Curso de Derecho Civil (I)". Colex 2008, p. 167, 168 and 175
  12. ^ "The Judiciary: The Federal Supreme Court". Government of Switzerland. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
  13. ^ Administrator, System. "Reem Island murder: 'Ghost' executed". Emirates 24|7. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  14. ^ Alphabetical Index of the 192 United Nations Member States and Corresponding Legal Systems. University of Ottawa Faculty of Law World Legal Systems Research Group. Accessed 8 February 2017.
  15. ^ Indonesia - Freedom in the World 2012. Freedom House. Accessed 8 February 2017.
  16. ^ Constitutional Court Website: History of The Constitution Court accessed 17 May 2009
  17. ^ Ina Parlina and Margareth S Aritonang, 'House begins selection of new Constitutional Court justice', The Jakarta Post, 28 February 2013.
  1. ^ Appeals to the Privy Council was abolished in 1933 but could still be allowed under certain circumstances until 1949
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.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is the title of all members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States. The number of associate justices is eight, as set by the Judiciary Act of 1869.Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution grants plenary power to the president to nominate, and with the advice and consent (confirmation) of the Senate, appoint justices to the Supreme Court. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution effectively grants life tenure to associate justices, and all other federal judges, which ends only when a justice dies, retires, resigns, or is removed from office by impeachment.Each Supreme Court justice has a single vote in deciding the cases argued before it; the chief justice's vote counts no more than that of any other justice. However, the Chief Justice—when in the majority—decides who writes the court's opinion. Otherwise, the senior justice in the majority assigns the writing of a decision. Furthermore, the chief justice leads the discussion of the case among the justices. The chief justice has certain administrative responsibilities that the other justices do not and is paid slightly more ($267,000 per year as of 2018, as opposed to $255,300 per year for each associate justice).Associate justices have seniority by order of appointment, although the chief justice is always considered to be the most senior. If two justices are appointed on the same day, the older is designated the senior justice of the two. Currently, the senior associate justice is Clarence Thomas. By tradition, when the justices are in conference deliberating the outcome of cases before the Supreme Court, the justices state their views in order of seniority. The senior associate justice is also tasked with carrying out the chief justices's duties when he is unable to, or if that office is vacant. Historically, associate justices were styled "Mr. Justice" in court opinions and other writings. The title was shortened to "Justice" in 1980, a year before Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female justice.

Brett Kavanaugh

Brett Michael Kavanaugh (; born February 12, 1965) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He previously served as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and as a staff lawyer for various offices of the federal government.Kavanaugh graduated from Yale University, where he joined Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. After graduating from Yale Law School, he began his career as a law clerk and then a postgraduate fellow working under Judge Ken Starr. After Starr left the D.C. Circuit to take the position as head of the Office of Independent Counsel, Kavanaugh followed and assisted him with various investigations concerning President Bill Clinton, including the drafting of the Starr Report, which urged Clinton's impeachment. After the 2000 U.S. presidential election (in which he worked for the George W. Bush campaign in the Florida recount), he joined the administration as White House Staff Secretary and was a central figure in its efforts to identify and confirm judicial nominees. Kavanaugh was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit by President Bush in 2003. His confirmation hearings were contentious; they stalled for three years over charges of partisanship. He was ultimately confirmed to the D.C. Circuit in May 2006 after a series of negotiations between Democratic and Republican U.S. Senators. A Washington Post analysis found he had the most or second-most conservative voting record on the D.C. Court in every policy area between 2003 and 2018.President Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on July 9, 2018, to fill the position vacated by retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. When Kavanaugh's name was on the short list of Supreme Court nominees and before his nomination, Palo Alto University Professor of Psychology Christine Blasey Ford contacted a Washington Post tip line with accusations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s while the two were in high school. Two other women also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh denied all three accusations. The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee held a supplemental hearing over Ford's allegations, after which it voted to advance the confirmation to a full Senate vote. After delaying the vote for an additional FBI investigation, the Senate confirmed Kavanaugh's nomination by a vote of 50–48 on October 6, 2018.

Chief Justice of India

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the head of the judiciary of India and the Supreme Court of India. The CJI also heads their administrative functions.

As head of the supreme court, the chief justice is responsible for the allocation of cases and appointment of constitutional benches which deal with important matters of law. In accordance with Article 145 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court Rules of Procedure of 1966, the Chief Justice allocates all work to the other judges who are bound to refer the matter back to him or her (for re-allocation) in any case where they require it to be looked into by a larger bench of more judges.

On the administrative side, the Chief Justice carries out the following functions: maintenance of the roster; appointment of court officials and general and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court.

It has been an unbroken convention for decades now, to appoint the senior-most judge of the supreme court as the CJI.The present CJI is Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and is the 46th CJI since 3 October 2018. January 1950, the year the Constitution came into effect and the supreme court came into being. He succeeded Justice Dipak Misra on 2 October 2018, and will remain in office till 17 November 2019, the day he retires on turning 65 years in age.

Chief Justice of the United States

The Chief Justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, and as such the highest-ranking judge of the federal judiciary. 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 of the United States Senate, appoint a chief justice, who serves until they resign, are impeached and convicted, retire, or die.

The chief justice has significant influence in the selection of cases for review, presides when oral arguments are held, and leads the discussion of cases among the justices. Additionally, when the Court renders an opinion, the chief justice, if in the majority, chooses who writes the Court's opinion. When deciding a case, however, the chief justice's vote counts no more than that of any associate justice.

Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 of the Constitution designates the chief justice to preside during presidential impeachment trials in the Senate; this has occurred twice. Also, while nowhere mandated, the presidential oath of office is typically administered by the Chief Justice.

Additionally, the chief justice serves as a spokesperson for the federal government's judicial branch and acts as a chief administrative officer for the federal courts. The Chief Justice presides over the Judicial Conference and, in that capacity, appoints the director and deputy director of the Administrative Office. The Chief Justice is also an ex officio member of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution and, by custom, is elected chancellor of the board.

Since the Supreme Court was established in 1789, 17 people have served as chief justice. The first was John Jay (1789–1795). The current chief justice is John Roberts (since 2005). John Rutledge, Edward Douglass White, Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan Fiske Stone, and William Rehnquist served as associate justice prior to becoming chief justice.

Chief justice

The chief justice is the presiding member of a supreme court in any of many countries with a justice system based on English common law, such as the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Supreme Court of Singapore, the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong, the Supreme Court of Japan, the Supreme Court of India, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Supreme Court of Nepal, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Supreme Court of Ireland, the Supreme Court of New Zealand, the High Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of the United States, and provincial or state supreme courts/high courts.

The situation is slightly different in the three legal jurisdictions within the United Kingdom. The courts of England and Wales are headed by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales; in Northern Ireland's courts, the equivalent position is the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, and in the courts of Scotland the head of the judiciary of Scotland is the Lord President of the Court of Session, who is also Lord Justice General of Scotland. These three judges are not, though, part of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, which operates across all three jurisdictions and is headed by the President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

The chief justice can be selected in many ways, but, in many nations, the position is given to the most senior justice of the court, while, in the United States, it is often the President's most important political nomination, subject to approval by the United States Senate. Although the title of this top American jurist is, by statute, Chief Justice of the United States, the term "Chief Justice of the Supreme Court" is often used unofficially.

In some courts, the chief justice has a different title, e.g. president of the supreme court. In other courts, the title of chief justice is used, but the court has a different name, e.g. the Supreme Court of Judicature in colonial (British) Ceylon, and the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia (in the US state of West Virginia).

Dred Scott v. Sandford

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court held that the U.S. Constitution was not meant to include American citizenship for black people, regardless of whether they were enslaved or free, and therefore the rights and privileges it confers upon American citizens could never apply to them. The plaintiff in the case was Dred Scott, an enslaved black man whose owners had taken him from Missouri, which was a slave-holding state, into the Missouri Territory, most of which had been designated "free" territory by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. When his owners later brought him back to Missouri, Scott sued in court for his freedom, claiming that because he had been taken into "free" U.S. territory, he had automatically been freed, and was legally no longer a slave. Scott sued first in Missouri state court, which ruled that he was still a slave under its law. He then sued in U.S. federal court, which ruled against him by deciding that it had to apply Missouri law to the case. He then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In March 1857, the Supreme Court issued a 7–2 decision against Dred Scott. In an opinion written by Chief Justice Roger Taney, the Court ruled that black people "are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States." Taney supported his ruling with an extended survey of American state and local laws from the time of the Constitution's drafting in 1787 purporting to show that a "perpetual and impassable barrier was intended to be erected between the white race and the one which they had reduced to slavery." Because the Court ruled that Scott was not an American citizen, any federal lawsuit he filed automatically failed because he could never establish the "diversity of citizenship" that Article III of the U.S. Constitution requires for an American federal court to be able to exercise jurisdiction over a case. After ruling on these issues surrounding Scott, Taney continued further and struck down the entire Missouri Compromise as a limitation on slavery that exceeded the U.S. Congress's powers under the Constitution. Two justices—John McLean and Benjamin Robbins Curtis—dissented from the Court's opinion, writing that the majority's historical survey was inaccurate and that legal precedent showed that some black people actually had been citizens at the time of the Constitution's creation, and also that the majority's opinion went too far in striking down the Missouri Compromise.

Although Chief Justice Taney and several of the other justices hoped that the ruling would settle the slavery controversy—which was increasingly dividing the American public—its effect was almost the complete opposite. Taney's majority opinion "was greeted with unmitigated wrath from every segment of the United States except the slave holding states." Rather than settling the controversy, the decision actually proved to be a contributing factor in the outbreak of the American Civil War four years later in 1861. After the Union's victory in 1865, the Court's rulings in Dred Scott were superseded by direct amendments to the U.S. Constitution, particularly by the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, and by the first clause of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which reads: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

The Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford is largely denounced by modern scholars. Many contemporary lawyers, and most modern legal scholars, consider the ruling regarding slavery in the territories to be obiter dictum and not a binding precedent. Bernard Schwartz says it "stands first in any list of the worst Supreme Court decisions—Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes called it the Court's greatest self-inflicted wound." Junius P. Rodriguez says it is "universally condemned as the U.S. Supreme Court's worst decision." Historian David Thomas Konig says it was "unquestionably, our court's worst decision ever."

Lawyers' Edition

The United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition, or Lawyers' Edition (L. Ed. and L. Ed. 2d in case citations) is an unofficial reporter of Supreme Court of the United States opinions. The Lawyers' Edition was established by the Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company of Rochester, New York in 1882, and features coverage of Supreme Court decisions going back to 1790. The first Lawyers' Edition series corresponds to the official United States Reports from volume 1 to volume 351, whereas the second series contains cases starting from the official reporter volume 352.The Lawyers' Edition differs from the official reporter in that the editors write headnotes and case summaries, as well as provide annotations to some cases, and decisions are published far in advance of the official reporter. As such, it is similar to West's unofficial Supreme Court Reporter (S. Ct.). Lawyers' Edition case reports differ from Supreme Court Reporter case reports in three respects. First, coverage in Supreme Court Reporter does not begin until Johnson v. Waters, 108 U.S. 4 (1882), while Lawyers' Edition covers opinions back to the first volume of United States Reports. Second, while both reporters contain headnotes written by the reporters' editors, the Lawyers' Edition headnotes are not keyed to the West American Digest System's topic and key number system. Third, Lawyers' Edition historically included analytical articles, referred to as "annotations", similar to those contained in American Law Reports.

LexisNexis, by way of Reed Elsevier, acquired the rights to the Lawyers' Edition, along with a number of other law publications and related assets, from The Thomson Corporation in January 1997. Thomson, in acquiring West Publishing, was required to divest itself of a large number of titles through a consent decree by the United States Department of Justice.

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.

Lists of United States Supreme Court cases

This page serves as an index of lists of United States Supreme Court cases. The United States Supreme Court is the highest federal court of the United States.

New York Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the State of New York is the trial-level court of general jurisdiction in the New York State Unified Court System. (Its Appellate Division is also the highest intermediate appellate court.) It is vested with unlimited civil and criminal jurisdiction, although outside New York City it acts primarily as a court of civil jurisdiction, with most criminal matters handled in County Court.The Court is radically different from its counterparts in nearly all other states in two important ways. First, the Supreme Court is a trial court and is not the highest court in the state. The highest court of the State of New York is the Court of Appeals. Second, although it is a trial court, the Supreme Court sits as a "single great tribunal of general state-wide jurisdiction, rather than an aggregation of separate courts sitting in the several counties or judicial districts of the state." There is a branch of the Supreme Court in each of New York's 62 counties.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (, born Joan Ruth Bader; March 15, 1933) is an American lawyer and jurist who is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. 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."

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 Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada (French: Cour suprême du Canada) is the highest court of Canada, the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts. Its decisions are the ultimate expression and application of Canadian law and binding upon all lower courts of Canada, except to the extent that they are overridden or otherwise made ineffective by an Act of Parliament or the Act of a provincial legislative assembly pursuant to section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the "notwithstanding clause").

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 Kingdom

The Supreme Court (sometimes colloquially referred to by the acronym UKSC or SCOTUK) (Welsh: Y Goruchaf Lys) is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population.As authorised by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Part 3, Section 23(1) and s. 23, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was formally established on 1 October 2009.

It assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords, which had been exercised by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (commonly called "Law Lords"), the 12 judges appointed as members of the House of Lords to carry out its judicial business as the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords. Its jurisdiction over devolution matters had previously been exercised by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The current President of the Supreme Court is Baroness Hale of Richmond, and its Deputy President is Lord Reed.

Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States (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 narrow range of cases, including 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.

As set by the Judiciary Act of 1869, the Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices. Each justice has lifetime tenure, meaning they remain on the Court until they resign, retire, die, or are removed from office. When a vacancy occurs, the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints a new justice.

Each justice has a single vote in deciding the cases argued before it; the chief justice's vote carries no more weight than any other. When the chief justice is in the majority, he decides who writes the opinion of the court; otherwise, the senior justice in the majority assigns the task of writing the opinion.

In modern discourse, 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 is the Supreme Court of the United States Police.

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 Reports

The United States Reports are the official record (law reports) of the rulings, orders, case tables (list of every case decided), in alphabetical order both by the name of the petitioner (the losing party in lower courts) and by the name of the respondent (the prevailing party below), and other proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United States. United States Reports, once printed and bound, are the final version of court opinions and cannot be changed. Opinions of the court in each case are prepended with a headnote prepared by the Reporter of Decisions, and any concurring or dissenting opinions are published sequentially. The Court's Publication Office oversees the binding and publication of the volumes of United States Reports, although the actual printing, binding, and publication are performed by private firms under contract with the United States Government Publishing Office.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.