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The Supreme Court
The Constitution of the United States allows that the Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice and as many Associate Judges as Congress determines. At this point in our history, that total number of Associate Judges is eight. Nominations to the Court are made by the President but “with the advice and consent of the Senate.” Article III of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court power over a vast number of cases. Their decisions are the final decisions and the ultimate law in the United States. The Supreme Court has been given authority from Congress to make rules over lower court in regards to their rules of procedure. The Court itself is housed in Washington, D.C., where the term of court begins, by law, on the first Monday in October and lasts until first Monday in October of the next year. A remarkable 10,000 petitions are filed with the court each year, with an additional 1,200 applications of various kinds that any single Judge can choose to act upon in a single term. These judges, once appointed, are lifetime members of the Court, and can only be removed if impeached by Congress of "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." It is a job held by only 111 Americans as of the start of 2010. Our Supreme Court is more than these mere facts, however, it is a rich part of our history, and as such, filled with ups and downs.
The first Supreme Court was in 1789 and was led by Chief Justice John Jay. When the Court first convened on February 2, 1790, there were only six members; Congress did not set the number at nine until many years later. Controversy came to the Court early, in the form of how the Court ruled on a decision on the case of Crisholm v. Georgia. Because our government is structured on Federalism, or power sharing between the federal and state governments, there have been issues throughout the years on how that power is shared. This case involved whether the federal judiciary could hear lawsuits against the...