A Day in the Supreme Court
"God save the United States and this Honorable Court, chants the Marshal as the U.S. Supreme Court enters the courtroom to hear arguments and issue some 150 annual major interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. What is a day in the Supreme Court like?. And, what does "Oyez" mean, anyway?
The Supreme Court's Term
The United States Supreme Court hears and decides cases during "Terms" that always start on the first Monday of October and typically continue until late June or early July of each year. For example, the October 1999 term ended on June 29, 2000, and the October 2000 term begins on Monday, October 2, 2000. Each Term is divided into alternating two-week periods during which the Court is either "sitting," or "recessed." While the Court is sitting, the Justices actually hear arguments and deliver opinions. While recessed, the Justices consider the cases argued before them and write their opinions.
Each week, the Justices must also examine as many as 130 new petitions asking the Court to review the judgments of state and federal courts. After reading both the petitions and records of the lower courts, the Justices decide which cases will be heard by the Supreme Court with oral arguments by attorneys. Approximately 7,000 petitions are filed with the Court in the course of a Term.
A Day in Court - the Justices Enter
On days when the Court is in session the Justices enter the burgundy draped, gold-trimmed courtroom promptly at 10:00 am. As the Justices enter, all persons in attendance stand. The Justices also stand as the Marshal of the Court chants, "The Honorable Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable Supreme Court of the United States are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God save the United States and this Honorable Court!"
"God save the
United States and this Honorable Court!" The significance of
this phrase is not lost on those
who oppose the Court's past rulings banning the use of similar
statements and other forms of organized prayer from America's public
Posted by: LORDODIN2001 - Jul 14 - 12:39am
The Justices are seated by seniority. The Chief Justice sits in the middle, with the most senior Associate Justice to his or her right, the second most senior to his or her left, and so on, alternating right and left by seniority.
In keeping with the oldest traditions of the Supreme Court, white quills (as were once used as ink pens) are placed on the attorneys' tables each day the Court is in session.
The Justices also perform the traditional "conference handshake" that began during the late 19th century under Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller. All of the Justices shake hands as a reminder that their differences of opinion would not prevent them from focusing on justice and proper conduct of the judicial process.
Before presentations of arguments, the Court takes care of some administrative business. On Monday mornings, they release the Order List, a public report of Court actions stating what future cases the Court will and will not consider, and announcing the names of attorneys newly granted permission to present cases before the Supreme Court. ("Admission to the Court Bar.") Opinions are typically released on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and on the third Monday of each month, when the Court takes the Bench but no arguments are heard.
"To qualify for admission to the Bar of this Court, an applicant must have been admitted to practice in the highest court of a State, Commonwealth, Territory or Possession, or the District of Columbia for a period of at least three years immediately before the date of application; must not have been the subject of any adverse disciplinary action pronounced or in effect during that 3 year period; and must appear to the Court to be of good moral and professional character." -- Rules of the Supreme Court
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Project Oyez: A Virtual Tour of the Supreme Court
From Northwestern University comes an interesting virtual tour of the Supreme Court Building in Washington. Requires Apple Quicktime which can be downloaded from the Oyez site.
Rules of the Supreme Court
The official rules of jurisdiction and practice of the Supreme Court from the Cornell Legal Information Institute.
Supreme Court - School Prayer Articles
A compilation of articles by About Guides on the controversial issue of the Supreme Court's banning of prayer and religion in public schools.
Supreme Court Report
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