Written by Rufaro Ndoro
What is the Supreme Court?
The highest federal court in the US, consisting of nine justices.
(Justices are judges of the supreme court)
Justices are nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate.
What is its role?
The supreme court is the highest court in the land so therefore being the people go to for a last resort for those looking for justice. It also makes sure that each government in America plays an essential role in making sure that they realise the limits of their power (therefore each government can’s abuse power and do anything they are not supposed to).
It protects civil rights and freedoms by striking down any laws that violate the Constitution. It also makes limits on the democratic government through making sure that majorities cannot pass laws that can be of harm to unpopular minorities and seeks to make everyone feel comfortable in society (i.e. freedom of religion, freedom of speech)
Why is the Supreme Court important in the elections?
The Supreme court is very important in the elections because the justices are appointed by the president, which leaves the question of what justices will be appointed by Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump.
When a Supreme court justice dies or retires the president appoints a replacement and the Senate is meant to make a swift vote on the choice. But when one of the justices died in February, Senate Republicans refused to consider Obama’s choice based on the fact that the next president should appoint the replacement, which then sparked up a lot of issues and the topic is now one of the most important issue of the 2016 election.
Trump in the third debate mentioned that he wanted to appoint justices who would block restrictions on gun ownership and do away with federal abortion rights. (as mentioned before one of the Supreme Court’s roles is to make sure there are no laws passed that harm minorities or anyone’s rights in society – therefore the abolition of the right to freedom of choice could be under fire as Trump wants to get rid of the right to abortions). Also one could argue banning the restrictions on gun ownership could mean that there will be more violence in America and anyone will be eligible to carry a gun.
Clinton said she wanted justices who would make sure that corporations could spend unlimited amounts of money on elections and also said that she wanted the US Senate to act immediately to fill the Supreme Court’s current vacancy. People might be against some of the policies that Hilary has put forward because then for those who want to run for president and have major corporations back them, they could have an unfair advantage when it comes to the elections.