Judiciary Branch of Government
The Judiciary branch of government is that part of government responsible for explaining and applying the law. This branch is a system of courts that also serves as a forum for the resolution of disputes. It is the judiciary branch that is called upon to ensure equal justice under the law for all citizens. The judiciary is a hierarchical structure, headed by a final court of appeals, called the Supreme Court.
The judicial branch also has the power to change laws, through what is known as judicial review. This allows the Court to annul or strike down laws they deem unconstitutional. Judicial review is often undertaken through the interpretation of legal precedence.
In the United States, the Supreme Court, a 12-justice panel led by the Chief Justice, heads the judiciary branch. Justices are appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and serve for life. This is supposed to remove justices from politics. The Judiciary Act of 1789 divided the nation into smaller judicial districts, creating a federal court for each district. Currently, the US judicial system is organized into one Supreme Court, 13 courts of appeals, 94 district courts and two courts of special jurisdiction.
The United States also has an elaborate system of state courts, organized similarly to the federal system. Each state has its own State Supreme Court, the final authority in each state, bound only by decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.
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