Fact sheet

The Supreme Court of the United States is based in Washington D.C. and is the highest court in the nation. As the Judicial branch of the three branches of U.S. federal government, its task – as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution – is to render final decisions on legal disputes. The court's role to check and balance the two other branches is an essential function of the U.S. system of government.

The court's panel has nine justices and each justice is nominated by the President of the United States to serve for the rest of their lives – until retirement or death – pending approval of two-thirds (60 out of 100) members of the U.S. Senate.

In addition to siding for either the plaintiff or the defendant before them, the justices articulate their positions in majority and dissenting opinions. The scholarly content of these opinions is wide-reaching as these precedent-setting documents are interpreted by judges, legal scholars and attorneys in lower courts. 

The Supreme Court is very selective with the cases it reviews because and many legal matters appealed to the highest court are not picked up to be digested and ruled upon by the justices. The court chooses cases based on them having to do with interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, possible treason, any issue with ambassadors or disputes with other nations.

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Current Supreme Court Justices

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