The Judicial Branch of government might be the lesser-known arm, but it is equally important. It is actually really fascinating when you think about what they do and the power it holds. If you’ve ever wondered more about this mighty branch of government and how it operates, here are a few facts to get you started about the Supreme Court. You might even share one or two at your next dinner party to get the conversation going.
Who Are They?
The Supreme Court is the highest court in America. If a case makes it all the way to the Supreme Court, it usually means the case is challenging the United States Constitution. To get a job as a Supreme Court justice, you don’t need any previous job requirements on your resume. You don’t even need to be born in the U.S. Many justices have been lawyers or judges previously, but there is nothing in the Constitution stating any prerequisites to hold this position. There have been justices born in England, Scotland and even Turkey. Once you’ve been awarded a seat, you cannot be removed except by impeachment, retirement, or death. This allows the judges to make rulings based on the law and not be swayed by voters or popularity.
Day to Day Life
The chief justice sits in the center chair at the big desk. How else are seat assignments made in the Judicial Branch’s highest court? By age, of course. The senior justice sits to the chief justices’ right, the next to his left and follows this order down the line to the youngest sitting at the ends. They love tradition in the Supreme Court and a lot of their practices have history dating back to the 19th century. There are still quill pens sitting at the desk when court is in session. For how important their position is, they don’t actually have a lot of trials. The Supreme Court receives around 7,500 requests a year and out of those, only around 150 are reviewed and heard. If you are found guilty by the Supreme Court, that is the end all, be all. The only other way is for the Constitution to be amended– and you can imagine how often that happens.
By far, the weirdest case ever to be heard by the Supreme Court was over if tomatoes were considered fruits or vegetables. In 1893 John Nix was a produce seller in New York and taxes were only imposed on vegetables imported, but not fruits. He argued because the tomato had seeds, it actually made it a fruit, not a vegetable. In the case of Nix vs. Hedden it was concurred that yes, while tomatoes have seeds, they were not considered fruit because they were usually used in main courses and not desserts, so therefore making them a vegetable. Another odd occurrence was in 2002 when a fox breached security and made it into the building. More than 24 hours later, the fox was removed, and sessions could continue. The world of the Supreme Court can actually be quite fascinating if you look further into this unique branch of government.