Have you ever been in an argument where both sides have good points? How do you decide what is fair? In the United States, we use the Constitution to guide us. However, sometimes people disagree about what the Constitution means. That’s where the Supreme Court comes in.
The Supreme Court decides whether laws [a rule enforced by the government] and policies [an action taken by the government] are constitutional, or unconstitutional. The Supreme Court hears cases between October and June. This means the Supreme Court just ended their term. They made several important rulings. They ruled that states should decide how to draw their election districts instead of federal courts. They also ruled that the United States may not ask people if they are citizens in the census [a count of how many people live in the United States].
When the Supreme Court hears a case, both sides present their arguments. They give reasons why they think a law or policy is unconstitutional or not. There are nine Supreme Court Justices. They vote on who they think is right. Then they give their ruling.
The Supreme Court accompanies their ruling with opinions. A majority opinion is a written document that explains the reasons for the court’s ruling. Justices that do not agree with the ruling can write dissenting opinions. These express concerns about rulings.
What Do You Think? Why do you think it is important for the Supreme Court to decide what is Constitutional and what is not?
Photo Credit: David Planchet