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Supreme Court of the United States

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<div style="padding-left:40px;">&mdash; [[Anthony A. Falzarano]]<ref name="Falzarano2009">{{cite book |title=And Such Were Some Of You! One Man's Walk Out Of The Gay Lifestyle |author=Anthony Falzarano |publisher=Xulon Press |place=U.S.A. |year=2009 |chapter=18.What the ex-gay movement must accomplished to succeed |pages= 223 |isbn=978-1606473863 |url=https://www.amazon.com/Such-Were-Some-You/dp/1606473867 }}</ref></div>
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The '''Supreme Court of the United States''' (SCOTUS) is the highest court of the judiciary of the [[United States of America]]. The Court accepts for substantive review (known as granting a writ of [[certiorari]], or often shortened as "grants cert") only about 75 out of 7,500 petitions filed in it each year. And not all of those result in an actual court hearing: the court may grant cert in a case similar to one where the Court did render an opinion, but then instead of a hearing will remand (return to the lower court) the case to reconsider its decision in light of the Court's opinion in the similar case.
[[Alexander Hamilton]] originally described the federal judiciary as the "least dangerous branch" due to the fact that it does not have the power to enforce its rulings, or control the country's [[finance]]s.<ref>http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa78.htm Federalist #78</ref> However, due to [[liberal]] tendencies the Supreme Court has grabbed so much power in the last half-century that it currently exceeds the authority of the other branches of government.
==Structure==
The Constitution does not specify the number of Justices on the Court. The Judiciary Act of 1869 set the number at the current nine, consisting of eight [[Associate Justice]]s and one [[Chief Justice of the United States of America|Chief Justice]]. To assist them there are many clerks, guards, and staff. Cases are heard ''[[en banc]]'' whenever the Court is in session. Historians generally divide Court history into eras named after the Chief Justice then presiding (e.g., the [[Rehnquist Court]] and the [[Warren Court]]).
[[Image:SCOTUS.jpg|300px|left|thumb|The Supreme Court of the United States, 2010 Back Row (l-r):Sotomayor, Breyer, Alito, Kagan Front Row(l-r):Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg]]
Justices are appointed by the U.S. [[President]] with the advice and approval of the [[U.S. Senate]], which means that confirmation by a vote of a simple majority of the Senate is required before one can be sworn in as a Justice of the Supreme Court. There is no requirement that, whenever The Chief Justice's seat is vacant, that the nominee be a member of the Court, though it is common.
A list of pending cases to be heard on their merits by the Supreme Court, also known as petitions for which [[certiorari]] has been granted, is available on its website.<ref>[http://www.supremecourtus.gov/orders/07grantednotedlist.pdf Cases pending for the 2007 term]</ref>
 
==How Cases are Heard==
With the exception of a few cases (mainly involving disputes between states) where the Court has original jurisdiction, a party to a case from a lower court (either a Federal appellate court, or a state supreme court if the party is arguing that a United States Constitutional right was violated) must request the court to grant a writ of [[certiorari]] to hear the case.
 
The Court grants the writ in only about one out of every 100 petitions filed with it each year. And when granted, not all cases result in an actual court hearing: the court may grant the writ in a case similar to one where the Court did render an opinion, but then instead of a hearing will remand (return to the lower court) the case to reconsider its decision in light of the Court's opinion in the similar case (this is common if the opinion was rendered either during a term of the Court or the immediately preceding prior term).
 
When a case is heard, the Court hears the cases ''[[en banc]]'' (as opposed to lower level courts where a panel may hear the case). Time limits are very strict, usually only one hour (divided between the parties) is granted (though, in some exceptional cases, extra time may be granted) and the parties are frequently interrupted by a Justice asking a question or making a comment (though notably, Justice Clarence Thomas had a long period where he didn't ask a question from the bench).
==Opinions==
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