Legal beagles are howling at the moon today, it’s the First Monday in October — surely, you know what that means! The Supreme Court is in session! Oyez, oyez! One of the greatest acts in Constitutional Theater is about to resume.
The pundits all seem to agree that the Supreme Court term that opens today could be chock full of historic cases and nationally consequential decisions. Health care reform, immigration, gay marriage, affirmative action — cases involving these and other major social and political issues could be on the docket.
Could be. One of the more notably powers of the third branch of government is its ability to decide what it wants to decide. The Supreme Court does not have to accept any particular cases for review, and among the thousands of petitions it receives each year (petitions for writs of certiorari), it actually grants very few hearings.
Too many Americans know almost nothing about the Supreme Court, which is too bad since these nine justices have the power to make decisions that can change society. Think about the impact of decisions like Brown v. Board of Education mandating school integration, or Roe v. Wade on abortion, or Gideon v. Wainwright guaranteeing the right to counsel, or Miranda v. Arizona that gave rise to “Miranda rights” for people under arrest.
Trinity students have the distinct advantage of being about 15 minutes away from the Supreme Court. Every student — not just the aspiring lawyers — should find the time to visit the Supreme Court, take in an oral argument, and learn more about the nine men and women who wield so much power for this nation.
Pay attention! The decisions of the Supreme Court can change our lives.
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