The Supreme Court, People and Separation of Powers

An excellent article from the Washington Post this week lends two separate examples relevant to the Supreme Court topic. Firstly, simply, they point out that people are at the heart of the Supreme Court cases you study. An obvious point but one that does get lost in learning about the wider importance of cases. This is relevant as it is always useful to remember that the right to be heard by the Supreme Court is not one guaranteed to US citizens. Indeed the cases the Supreme Court choose not to hear can be as important as the ones they choose to hear – a ratio of approximately 60-80/10,000 cases each year.

Secondly, this gives an excellent example of the political role of the Supreme Court. In the case of Zivotofsky v. Kerry, not only is the Supreme Court having to arbitrate between the executive and legislative branches, there are even questions raised in this article over whether the Supreme Court have the right to do so. So many wonderful 45 mark questions come up about the power of the Supreme Court (‘Politicians in Robes’, Imperial Judiciary, etc) that regardless of the outcome of this case, although that too will be fascinating, this is an incredibly useful case – as ever, the answer as to whether they do have such power to make this decision is not clear cut.