Today we will finish looking at the three major branches of the United States government. In our previous blogs we took a close look at the Executive and Legislative Branches. The people of the United States elect both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch. The members of the Judicial Branch, however, are appointed by the President, but must also be confirmed by the Senate. Let’s take a look at the people who make up the Judicial Branch and the role they play in our government.

The Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch is led by the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court is composed of a Chief Justice, and a number of Associate Justices. There has been as few as five Associate Justices, but since 1869, the Supreme Court has consisted of nine Justices, including the Chief Justice. Supreme Court Justices hold their positions in perpetuity, which means they hold their position until they resign or pass away. The only other way for a Justice to be removed is through impeachment or conviction by Congress.

The Duties of the Judicial Branch

Article III of the Constitution guarantees that every citizen who is accused of a crime has the right to a fair trial in front of a competent judge and a jury of their peers. It is the duty of the Judicial Branch to protect this right. It is also the duty of the Judicial Branch and the Federal courts to interpret laws and to determine whether they are constitutional. There have been many instances in which the Supreme Court has ruled that a specific law was unconstitutional. In such cases, the law is overturned.