The Supreme Court of the United States is created by the Constitution. Originally it contained five judges on its "panel," called officially "justices," but was changed to nine some time after the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The court is composed of eight Associate Justices of the Supreme Court as well as the Chief Justice of the United States.
History and Background
The SCOTUS was created by Article Three of the US Constitution, with one Chief Justice serving as the head. The Chief Justice officiates over the impeachment trial of the President in the Senate. The first Chief Justice was John Marshall, of Marbury v. Madison fame.
The SCOTUS is supposed to be officially neutral regarding all issues:
"The law should be deaf to the clamors of the populace"- John Adams
- A Negro had no rights in court
- A Negro was property and could be taken anywhere in the US with master's permission
- A Negro did not exist and was simply a shadow in a thought of White Male Anglo-Saxon Protestants
Brown v Board of Education, 1954
Ended school segregation, under the 14th amendment; "Seperate but Equal" is unconstitutional
Loving v. Virginia, 1967
Roe v. Wade, 1973
Bush v. Gore, 2000
Shelby County v. Holder, 2013
Ruled that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was not unconstitutional, but the list of states that are held accountable was; which practically invalidated it until Congress finds a new way. Because the 116th Congress is so divided, this is highly unlikely. The idea behind the ruling was that because the law was so effective, we don't need it anymore. This is untrue: just two hours laters, Texas became the first state to introduce legislation that the Voting Rights Act would have voided.
Hollingsworth v. Perry, 2013
This case was on the Constitutionality of California's ban on gay marriage. Due to the nature of the lawsuit (the state's attorney general and governor refused to defend the bill) the court was unable to make a decision, but it did result in California's gay marriage ban being overturned.
Windsor v. The United States, 2013
Section 3 of Defense of Marriage Act was found unconstitutional, requiring the federal government to recognize gay marriages, but allowing individual states to decide their own marriage laws.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas
The members can be accessed at Current Members
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
Members of the SCOTUS are appointed by the President and then confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate. Filibusters, and the lack thereof, then, are key to allowing an appointment. Senate cloture rules required a 3/5 majority, thus mos justices
are were granted their commissions because of a compromise between Senate Republicans and Democrats. The modern era, began with the nomination of Abe Fortas as Chief Justice, in 1968. Since then, the confirmation process has become more contentious. Since 2016 and present leadership of Majority Leader McConnell, the Republican leadership has reduced the majority needed for cloture from 60 votes to a simple majority, refused to confirm candidates nominated by Democrat Presidents, and limited fact-finding by Democrat Senators. As a result, since 1968, no nominee put forward by a Democrat President has been confirmed with less than a 3/5 majority, while the four of Republican nominees on the Court have been confirmed with 54 or fewer votes.
Under Donld Trump there has come to be a Conservative majority in the Suorene Court though this doesn't reflect majority opinion in the United States.