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Article III, Sections 1 and 2, of the US Constitution address the the role and function of the Supreme Court in broad terms:

  • The Supreme Court is the highest court in the federal judiciary ["shall be vested in one Supreme Court"]
  • The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority; [Federal government]
  • to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;--to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; [these cases are part of the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction, but are heard under original jurisdiction in lower federal courts]
  • to controversies to which the United States shall be a party [typically heard under original jurisdiction in the US Court of Claims or US District Court]
  • to controversies between two or more states [the Supreme Court has exclusive and original jurisdiction over disputes between the states]
  • between a state and citizens of another state [this power was revoked by the 11th Amendment]
  • between citizens of different states [federal diversity jurisdiction is currently limited to cases with a value above $75,000]
  • between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects
  • In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party [typically heard in lower courts first, unless both parties are states]
  • In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make. [Congress can add to or remove appellate jurisdiction from the Supreme Court via legislation]

Article III

Section 1

The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

Section 2

The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;--to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;--to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;--to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;--to controversies between two or more states;--between a state and citizens of another state;--between citizens of different states;--between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

Section 3

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

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โˆ™ 2010-03-30 22:50:22
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Q: What is the role and function of the US Supreme Court according to the Constitution?
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