The United States Supreme Court is the highest federal court in the United States and serves as the final arbiter of legal disputes under the U.S. Constitution. Established by Article III of the Constitution, the Supreme Court is one of the three branches of the federal government, along with the legislative ([[Congress]]) and executive (the President) branches.
## Main functions of the Supreme Court
1. **Interpret the Constitution**: The Court has the power to interpret the meaning of the Constitution and determine whether laws and actions of government entities comply with its provisions.
2. **Resolve conflicts between federal and state laws**: The Court has the authority to settle disputes between federal and state governments, as well as disputes between different states.
3. **Review lower court decisions**: The Supreme Court has the power to review decisions made by lower federal courts and state supreme courts, ensuring consistency and accuracy in the application of federal law.
The Supreme Court is composed of nine justices, including a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices. Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Once confirmed, justices serve lifetime appointments, unless they choose to retire, resign, or are removed through impeachment.
## SCOTUS' term
The Supreme Court's term begins on the first Monday in October and typically runs through late June or early July. During a term, the Court hears oral arguments in cases and issues written opinions explaining its decisions. The Court has discretion in choosing which cases to hear, and it generally selects cases that involve significant legal issues or conflicts among lower courts.
## Landmark Supreme Court cases
1. **Marbury v. Madison (1803)**: This case established the principle of judicial review, giving the Supreme Court the power to declare laws unconstitutional.
2. **[[Brown v. Board of Education]] (1954)**: This case declared racial [[segregation]] in public schools unconstitutional, marking a pivotal moment in the [[civil rights]] Movement.
3. **[[Roe v. Wade]] (1973)**: This case recognized a woman's right to have an abortion as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution, sparking ongoing debates about reproductive rights.
4. **Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)**: This case ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage across the United States.
### More key cases
- [[Citizens United v. FEC]] (2010)
- [[Morrison v. Olsen]] (1988)
## Supreme Court Justices
(an incomplete list)
- [[Clarence Thomas]]