Sunday, September 18, 2011

This Week in History - September 18, 2011

This week marks the establishment of the Supreme Court of the United States. On September 24, 1789, then President George Washington signed the Judiciary Act of 1789 and nominated six justices to the court - John Jay (chief justice), John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison, and James Wilson. Today, nine justices sit on the high court.

The US Supreme Court, established by Article 3 of the Constitution, serves as one of the three primary branches of government. These three branches (the judiciary, the legislative, and the executive) enable the United States to maintain a checks-and-balances system through a separation of powers. The Supreme Court has the highest jurisdiction over all laws although they are selective in the cases that they choose to hear. Most cases involve questions of constitutionality.

Famous Supreme Court cases include Rowe v. Wade (1973), Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). For more information, visit the "This Day in History" page on history.com.

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