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What is the job of the Supreme Court?

What are the duties of the Supreme Court? Each member has their own roles and responsibilities with the court. The Supreme Court is in session (known as a term) from the beginning of October until early July each year. During each term the justices are involved in “sitting” (when they hear cases and deliver opinions and verdicts) and “recessing” (when they write “opinions” – somewhat lengthy documents which state a position with reasons on a case for or against an issue or individual).

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country, whose main job is the interpretation of laws and the interpretation of the Constitution. It is the court of last resort for issues concerning the country. It also makes sure that each branch of government does not overstep its authority, protects civil rights and liberties of Americans, strikes down laws that violate the Constitution, ensures that majorities cannot pass laws that take advantage of minorities, and guarantees the fundamental values common to all Americans (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and due process of law). A case that goes to the Supreme Court must first pass through many lower courts, and decisions made by the justices on these cases are considered final. Furthermore, the Supreme Court handles legal disputes between the states.

Due to the powers of separation in the U.S. government, however, the Supreme Court does not have the ability to act completely on its own. The members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President, but must be approved by the Senate.

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