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The Supreme Court of the United States

2. How does the Supreme Court work?

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think about what kinds of cases make it to the Supreme Court and how they are processed, focusing in particular on: (i) the three routes by which a case can be rendered eligible for consideration by the Supreme Court; (ii) the number of applications to the Supreme Court and the reason why the court accepts some cases for consideration but not others; (iii) written briefs and amici curiae; (iv) oral arguments; (v) justices’ conference, at which the court reaches its decision (by majority vote) and selects a justice to write the opinion; and (vi) different kinds of opinion: the ‘official’ majority opinion, concurring opinions (which agree with the decision reached by the court but for different/additional reasons than those stated in the majority opinion) and dissenting opinions (which disagree with the decision reached by the court).

Course

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.

Lecturer

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

APA style

Long, E. (2020, February 26). The Supreme Court of the United States - How does the Supreme Court work? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-supreme-court-of-the-united-states/how-does-the-supreme-court-work

MLA style

Long, E. "The Supreme Court of the United States – How does the Supreme Court work?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Feb 2020, https://massolit.io/courses/the-supreme-court-of-the-united-states/how-does-the-supreme-court-work

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