Introduction to Constitutional Law

Introduction to Constitutional Law

The United States Supreme Court was established and specifically named in the Constitution of the United States, also known as the Supreme Law of the Land.  The Supreme Court of the United States was the one branch of the judiciary the founding fathers thought would be necessary to establish and maintain a democracy. [1]

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.[2]

            The United States Supreme Court consists of 9 justices, which is consistent of one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices.  The Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction but a majority of the cases it hears are appeals cases.

            The authority of the United States Supreme Court was established in Marbury v. Madison where the Court held:

            Marshall answers that Acts of Congress that conflict with the Constitution are not law and the Courts are bound instead to follow the Constitution, affirming the principle of judicial review.  [3]

            In order to guarantee a faire trial by jury, the Supreme Court Justices have the right to sequester jurors and through the jury selection the attorneys of both parties will exercise due diligence in obtaining jurors who are not already prejudiced.  In many high profile cases the jurors have been sequestered.  In the O.J. Simpson trial the jurors were sequestered.[4] When a juror is sequestered they are held in a controlled environment. They are not permitted to speak to people outside the jury, they are not permitted to read a paper as delivered. The papers are reviewed and any mention of the case they are sitting on is removed before the jurors may read the paper.

            The law of search and seizure is provided for in Fourth Amendment of the Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.[5]

            A search is an intentional viewing by law enforcement officials and seizure is the actual taking of the item by law enforcement. While the acts are completely separate they are synonymous in the Constitution.   This concept of the Fourth Amendment is about privacy and the right of people to have a sense of privacy. While it is not only a sense one should not be subject to a lack of privacy within the walls of their home.  A search and seizure requires a warrant, and like many legal concepts there are exceptions to the warrant requirement. Mostly the exceptions focus on emergency or exigent circumstances.  For a persons home to be searched a warrant is required unless it is suited for an exception.




3. United States Constitution,  Article III

4. United States Constitution, Fourth Amendment

5. Marbury v. Madison, 1803

[1] Article III United States Constitution[2] Article III United States Constitution[3] Marbury v. Madison, 1803[4][5]