The Machinists Union sent a letter to every U.S. Senator urging them to oppose the confirmation of D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently holding a hearing on Kavanaugh’s nomination to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
IAM President Robert Martinez, Jr. – “His decisions have repeatedly and consistently protected and extended the power of business interests and undermined the rights and prospects of working Americans and their families.”
“Kavanaugh’s dangerous track record, putting corporate interests ahead of working peoples’ rights and safety”.
Why We Say ‘No’ to Kavanaugh Brett Kavanaugh Sided With A Union-Busting Employer After It Violated Workers’ Rights.
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest federal court in the country and the head of the judicial branch of government. Established by the U.S. Constitution, the Supreme Court has the ultimate jurisdiction over all laws within the United States and is responsible for evaluating the constitutionality of those laws. If necessary, the court has the power to check the actions of the other two branches of government—the executive branch of the president and the legislative branch of Congress. The Supreme Court has a chief justice, or head judge, and eight associate justices. The justices are appointed by the president and approved by a vote of the Senate. The justices serve for life unless they choose to retire. Their job is to interpret laws passed by Congress.
Some Historical Facts Regarding The Supreme Court:
- The Supreme Court was established in 1789 by Article Three of the U.S. Constitution, which also granted Congress the power to create inferior federal courts.
- The Constitution permitted Congress to decide the organization of the Supreme Court, and the legislative branch first exercised this power with the Judiciary Act of 1789. The act, signed into law by President George Washington, specified that the court would be made up of six justices who would serve on the court until they died or retired.
- The Supreme Court was set to first assemble on February 1, 1790 at the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City. But due to some justices’ transportation issues, the meeting had to be postponed until the next day. Though the court had its first meeting on February 2, 1790, it didn’t actually hear any cases in its first term. The court’s early meetings were concentrated on working out organizational procedures.
- The Supreme Court’s justices are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed (or denied) by the U.S. Senate.
- The first Supreme Court was made of up Chief Justice John Jay and Associate Justices John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison and James Wilson.
- The highest judicial officer in the nation, the chief justice is responsible for presiding over the Supreme Court and setting the agenda for the justices’ weekly meetings. In cases where the chief justice is a member of the majority opinion, the justice has the authority to assign who will write the court’s opinion. The chief justice is required to sit on the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. The chief justice also presides over trials of impeachment against the President of the United States in the U.S. Senate, as was the case with President Andrew Johnson and President Bill Clinton (both presidents were acquitted).
- Though the first court comprised of six justices, Congress altered the number of Supreme Court seats — from a low of five to a high of 10 — six times over the years. In 1869, Congress set the number of seats to nine, where it has remained until today.
- As of April 2017, 113 Justices have served on the Supreme Court. The current Supreme Court is comprised of chief justice John Roberts, Jr. and associate justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch.
Factual things of interest about the nation’s highest court:
- FACT – Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman named to the Supreme Court. She was appointed in 1981.
- FACT – Ruth Bader Ginsburg was seated in 1993 as the second woman.
- FACT – Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court justice? He was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967.
- FACT – The Supreme Court heads the judicial branch of the United States government. It is the only court established by the Constitution. Decisions made by the Supreme Court are usually of national importance. “Equal Justice under Law” is the motto of the Supreme Court. The wording of the Constitution is complex, so it must be studied and examined carefully. When questions concerning particular laws arise in lower courts, the justices who make up the Supreme Court are responsible for explaining and interpreting the Constitution.
- FACT – All of the other courts in the United States must follow the ruling or the decision made by the justices of the Supreme Court. The Constitution also gives the Supreme Court the power to judge whether federal, state, and local governments are acting within the law. The Supreme Court can also decide if a president’s action is unconstitutional.
- FACT – Thousands of lawyers from all over the country go to the Supreme Court every year hoping to plead their cases. The Supreme Court rules only on the most important cases. Often these cases are those that concern basic freedoms and civil rights protected by the Bill of Rights.
- FACT – Sometimes the Supreme Court is asked to make a decision so important that the whole country pays careful attention to its ruling. Racial segregation (the separation of black and white people) in public schools was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1954. The Court’s unanimous opinion outlawing this kind of separation in public schools was written by Chief Justice Earl Warren. Schools all over the United States were affected by this decision. This decision also paved the way for new civil rights laws passed in the years that followed.
- FACT – The decisions of the Supreme Court are absolute and final; in contrast, the decisions and judgments reached in lower courts may be appealed or questioned. Thousands of requests for rulings reach the Supreme Court each year. Fewer than one hundred fifty are actually considered and ruled upon.