The Supreme Court is the highest governing body that is known to us as the people of the United States of America. In the 1998-99 term, the Supreme Court is slated to hear cases on subjects as diverse as business monopolies, labor unions, health insurers, initiative petitions and due process. The justices will also revisit the issue of sexual harassment. The following will just be an overview of how the Supreme Court operates. I will try to point out many things throughout the course of this paper. The first points I will try to show is who the notable past judges were and what major roles they had in our society. Next, I will move into the justices of today and try to give a brief overview of them. Then I will move into the courts specifically. I will try to show how the courts work, how the justices go about choosing cases, hearing arguments, and making decisions. Lastly, I will give an overview of some of the most historic cases that have been heard by the United States Supreme Court and their decisions. As a result, all of these factors considered should help to give a better understanding of the Supreme Court and how it functions. Since the Supreme Court’s inception in 1789, 108 justices have served on it. There have been 16 chief justices. Several members of the court became great figures in history or were distinguished for contributions beyond their court service. There are four chief justices that have helped shape the course of the American judiciary system and the nation’s overall progress. John Marshall, who served as chief justice from 1801-1835, was probably the most influential chief justice to serve. Often called the great chief justice, Marshall was instrumental in establishing the court’s authority in the national government. During his tenure, the court began issuing single, majority opinions, enabling it to speak with a more definitive, unified voice. Rulings over this era bolstered federal power over states….
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