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Supreme Court Building

Supreme Court of the United States
The U.S. Department of Justice

Access to the Courts - Equal Justice for All (E-Journal) CD
· The Changing Face of U.S. Courts (E- Journal) CD
· Common Legal Terms CD
· Criminal Justice in the United States (E-Journal) CD
· The Federal Court System in the U.S. CD
History of the Federal Judiciary (Federal Judicial Center)
How U.S. Courts Work (E-Journal CD
How Courts Work (American Bar Association)
· The Judicial Branch (White House)
· Justice for All: The Legacy of Thurgood Marshall
· Legal Education in the U.S. (E-Journal)
· Mediation and the Courts (E-Journal) CD
· Outline of U.S. Government:The Judicial Branch: Interpreting the Constitution CD
Outline of the U.S. Legal System CD
Overview on the American Judicial System CD
Rights of the Accused CD
Rights of the People: Trial by Jury CD
The Role of the Independent Judiciary CD
Structure of the Federal Courts (U.S. Courts)
· Supreme Court Historical Society
· The Supreme Court of the United States (E-Journal) CD
· U.S. Courts (Administratice Office of the U.S. Courts)
· Understanding the Federal Courts (U.S. Courts)

· Die Judikative: Auslegung der Verfassung CD
Bahnbrechende Urteile des Supreme Court CD


The judicial branch is headed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which is the only court specifically created by the Constitution.  In addition, Congress has established 13 federal courts of appeals and 95 federal district courts. The president has the authority to appoint federal judges as vacancies occur, including justices of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C., and the other federal courts are located in cities throughout the United States. 

The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and such number
of Associate Justices as may be fixed by Congress. The number of Associate Justices is
currently fixed at eight. Power to nominate the Justices is vested in the President of the United States, and appointments are made with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Constitution further provides that “[t]he Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

The federal courts hear cases arising out of the Constitution, federal laws and treaties and maritime cases; cases involving foreign citizens or governments; and cases, in which the federal government is itself a party.  With minor exceptions, cases come to the Supreme Court on appeal from lower courts.  Most of these cases involve disputes over the interpretation and constitutionality of actions taken by the executive branch and of laws passed by Congress or the states.

See also:
About the USA > U.S. Government > The Legislative Branch

About the USA > U.S. Society > Crime & Justice

Original Documents
· Article III of the Constitution
· Famous Trials (UMKC School of Law)
· FindLaw: Cases and Codes: US Circuit Courts
· Landmark Supreme Court Cases
· Public Laws (GPO)
· Supreme Court Decisions (FindLaw)
· Supreme Court Collection (Cornell University Law School)
· The U.S. Code
(Cornell University Law School)

Virtual Tour of the Supreme Court Building (OYEZ - U.S. Supreme Court Media)

· Courts (National Criminal Justice Reference Service)
· Federal Justice Statistics (U.S. Department of Justice)
Statistical Reports (U.S. Courts)

For High School Students
How Laws Are Made (Ben's Guide to U.S. Government)
· Inside the Courtroom (U.S. Department of Justice)
· The Judicial Branch (Congress for Kids)
How does Government Affect Me? (PBS Kids)

  Teacher Resources
· Federal Court Concepts
· The Federal Judiciary (CQ Press)
· How the Supreme Court Affects the Lives of Teens (PBS)
· The Judicial Branch (Scholastic)
· The Supreme Court: The Judicial Power of the United States (Edsitement)
· Welcome To Courts to Classes (U.S. Courts)
· What is the Judicial Branch?
(American Bar Association)

Link Lists
American Law Sources On-Line
Court Web Sites (National Center for State Courts)
· Federal Courts Finder (Emory Law School)
· Federal Government Resources on the Web/Judicial Branch (The University of Michigan Documents Center)
Federal Legal Information Through Electronics (
· Internet Law Library (
· Judicial Branch (
· Judicial Branch Resources (GPO)
· Law Library of Congress
· Legal Information Institute (Cornell University Law School)
· Links to U.S. Courts (U.S. Courts)
· Resources by Jurisdiction (FindLaw)
· USA Federal Judiciary (LAW Research)
· United States Federal Law (Rutgers Law Library)
Web Guide to U.S. Supreme Court Research (
· Yahoo > U.S. Government > Judicial Branch
Texts are abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials.
Any reference obtained from this server to a specific commercial product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the United States Government of the product, process, or service, or its producer or provider. The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government.
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Updated: January 26, 2009