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1. What is the Supreme Court?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about what the Supreme Court is, when it was set up, and how it works, focusing in particular on: (i) its status as one of the three branches of the federal government, alongside the executive (the Presidency) and the legislature (Congress); (ii) its position at the top of both the federal and state court system; (iii) its establishment by Article 3 of the US Constitution; (iv) the ‘fleshing out’ of the court system in the 1789 Judiciary Act; (v) the court’s process of judicial review, and some of the controversies surrounding this process; (vi) the three main criteria that must be met before the Supreme Court can consider a case; and (vi) the reason why the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution (as opposed to ordinary law) is especially important.
In this course, Dr Emma Long (University of East Anglia) provides an introduction to the Supreme Court of the United States. In the first module, we think about what the Supreme Court is, when it was set up, and how it works. After that, in the second module, we think about what kinds of cases make it to the Supreme Court and how they are processed once they get there. In the third module, we think about the Supreme Court justices themselves, before turning in the fourth module to consider three theories of judicial decision-making: the legal model, the attitudinal model, and rational choice theory. In the fifth module, we think about the role of the judiciary in relation to the legislature, focusing on the concepts of judicial activism and restraint, originalism and living constitutionalism.
Dr Emma Long is Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of East Anglia. Her research interests focus on the history of the US Constitution and the Supreme Court. Although interested in all aspects of this history, her particular focus is on the period since 1945 and on the rights contained in the Bill of Rights. Emma also has an interest in the interaction of religion and politics in American history, particularly issues related to the idea of the “separation of church and state” that emerge from the First Amendment.
Cite this Lecture
Long, E. (2020, February 26). The Supreme Court of the United States - What is the Supreme Court? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-supreme-court-of-the-united-states/what-is-the-supreme-court
Long, E. "The Supreme Court of the United States – What is the Supreme Court?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Feb 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-supreme-court-of-the-united-states/what-is-the-supreme-court