Supreme Court of United States

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the federal judiciary system of the United States. It was established by Article III of the US Constitution and began its operations in 1789. Responsible for interpreting the Constitution and resolving legal disputes that arise under federal law, the Court is the final authority on matters of federal law, and its decisions have far-reaching implications for the entire nation.

The Supreme Court is composed of nine justices, including one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices. The President of the United States nominates justices, who are then confirmed by the Senate. Once appointed, justices serve for life, ensuring their independence from political pressures. The Chief Justice is the highest-ranking member of the Court and presides over its proceedings.

The primary role of the Supreme Court is to exercise the power of judicial review. This means the Court has the authority to review laws, executive actions, and lower court decisions to ensure their constitutionality. If a law or action is found to be unconstitutional, the Court can declare it null and void. This power of judicial review is a crucial element of the system of checks and balances in the United States, allowing the Court to protect individual rights and maintain the balance of power among the three branches of government.

The Supreme Court hears cases through a process of appeal. It does not initiate trials or gather evidence but reviews decisions made in lower federal and state courts. Most cases that reach the Supreme Court involve important legal issues, questions of constitutional interpretation, or conflicts among lower courts regarding the interpretation of federal law.

The Court's jurisdiction extends to both civil and criminal cases. It also has original jurisdiction over certain cases, such as those involving disputes between states or cases affecting ambassadors. However, the majority of cases heard by the Court are appeals from lower courts.

The Court's decisions are reached through majority vote, and the written opinions of the justices form the basis of the Court's rulings. The majority opinion represents the Court's final decision on a case, while dissenting opinions may be written by justices who disagree with the majority. The Court's decisions set precedents that guide future interpretations of the law and have a significant impact on the legal landscape of the United States.

The Supreme Court plays a vital role in shaping American society and ensuring the protection of individual rights. Its decisions have a profound impact on the interpretation and application of the law in the United States, influencing constitutional rights, social issues, governmental powers, and the relationship between the federal government and the states. As a key institution, the Court is often regarded as a pillar of democracy and an essential guardian of the rule of law in the United States.
Back to blog
UOL Case Bank

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.