Supreme Court Questions

The Supreme Court is a very powerful institution in American Government. Many people look at it as an entity that functions in a predictable manner. Yet, in a very profound way, the Court is shaped by the human dynamic of who sits on the Court during any particular generation. The Court decides cases by vote. Thus, the ideological makeup of the Court is vital to understanding, how, why and when the Court has arrived at the legal conclusions it has. This determines whether the vote of based on a strong majority or weak majority (ex. 7-2 versus 5-4). These conclusions have shaped our level of freedom and allowed behavior as much, if not more, than the legislative action created by Congress.

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Your assignment is to conduct biographical and individual ideological research of the current nine members of the Court. For each member, answer the follwing questions:



How long have they served on the Court and which U.S. President nominated them?

What is their perceived political ideology?

What is their perceived legal ideology?

Who, in your opinion is the most significant member of the Court as it relates to deciding the outcome of legal cases decided? And why?