Fast Facts on the Supreme Court

  • Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court has the limited (NOT broad) power of interpreting and applying federal law—not making or changing laws. (Source: U.S. Constitution, Articles I and III)
     
  • According to the Constitution, only the people and their elected representative can make and change laws and the Constitution. (Sources: U.S. Constitution, Articles I and III, Federalist No. 78)
     
  • The Constitution leaves it up to the people and their elected officials to make the law, regardless of what the justices personally think would be fair. (Source: U.S. Constitution, Articles I and III)
     
  • The Supreme Court was never intended to be political. The Founders intended for judges to be insulated from the political fray. (Source: Federalist No. 78)
     
  • Unlike the President and Members of Congress, who are elected, Supreme Court justices are appointed to serve on the Court for life precisely to insulate them from political pressure. The Founders intended for judges to be insulated from the political fray. (Source: Federalist No. 78)
     
  • The Supreme Court has not always been so involved in social and political issues. Until relatively recently, most judges believed that in their limited judicial role they must rely on the Legislature to fix laws. (Source: PBS)
     
  • After Justice Anthony Kennedy retired from the Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh was nominated by the President to replace him, then confirmed by a simple majority in the Senate. (Source: Bloomberg)
     
  • Now there are 2 Supreme Court justices near the age at which justices typically retire from the Court. The age at which justices typically retire is 83. Justice Ginsburg is 85 and Justice Breyer is 79. (Source: Bloomberg)
     
  • That’s why the election and control of the Senate is so important.


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