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Supreme Court of the Universe

How much do you know about the Supreme Court? Whether you realize it or not, its decisions affect our laws in big ways. Here are the basics:
  • The Supreme Court always has nine justices. No tie votes!
  • The Supreme Court is mostly a court of appeals—it decides on cases that lower courts couldn’t settle.
  • The Supreme Court accepts only about 100 of around 10,000 cases referred to it each year—the ones justices think will help clear up questions to do with Constitutional law.
  • Before the court hearing, lawyers from each side of a case hand in written arguments. At the actual trial, each side has just half an hour to speak and be questioned.
  • After the hearing, the justices discuss among themselves which side has the backing of the Constitution. Finally, they take a vote. 
  • After the vote, a justice from the majority side writes a court opinion. The judges from the majority side review and revise the report. Finally, they sign it. 
  • Once the opinion is made public, it becomes the official interpretation of the law.

Odd beginnings. During its first term in 1790, the Supreme Court had no cases and made no decisions—but the justices still convened. Some judges of lower courts still wore tall white wigs, but Justice William Cushing alone showed up at the Supreme Court wearing his wig. After the boys loitering outside made fun of Justice Cushing, Thomas Jefferson added his opinion: “Do discard the monstrous wig which makes the English judges look like rats peeping through bunches of oakum.” 1 The wig came off!2

Divine court. Daniel 7 describes the supreme court of the universe, where the Ancient of Days and His Son are the judges. In this court, the judge is also the lawyer for the defendants.3 He longs to pardon whoever He can! And unlike human courts, the divine court never errs. “O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for Thou shalt judge the people righteously” (Psalm 67:4).

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