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The Court and Democracy
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Review the Court's History Landmark Cases Portrait of William Marbury
What is the Supreme Court's role in America's three-branch system of government? In a democracy, why are the justices appointed and not elected? How far does the Court's power extend, and what are its limitations?
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Many of these cases have names you've never heard before, but each of them has had a profound impact on all areas of American life, including education, law enforcement, taxes, and privacy.
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Portrait of John Marshall
Biographies of the Robes
The Seal of the Supreme Court The Look of Authority
From its inception in 1790, the Supreme Court has included diverse personalities from across the political spectrum, from brilliant scholars to seasoned politicians. Their ranks include former senators, Get an inside look at the visual signs and symbols behind the United States Supreme Court.

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Photo collage of primary source documents Primary Sources
congressmen, a president, and even a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.
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Review some of the pivotal documents involved in the Court's founding, including the Judiciary Act of 1789, "Federalist No. 78," and speeches from the Constitutional Convention and Virginia Ratifying Convention.

''The life of the law has not been logic, it has been experience. ... The law embodies the story of a nation's development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics.'' a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Did You Know? Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase is the only justice to have appeared on U.S. currency. He was on the now-obsolete $10,000 bill.