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In most of the European nations and American court hierarchy, the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. The Court has both appellate and original jurisdiction. On other more functions, the court has the power of judicial review over all laws passed by both the Parliament of Australia and the States. It has the jurisdiction to give an interpretation of the constitution of the state and thereby to bring a great shape the development of democracy in the nations (Baum, 2011).

Mandate of the Supreme Court

In the United States and other countries like Australia, the terms of reference of the court are vested in the constitution. The law gives the court both original precedent and appellate powers. Since it is the highest court in the laws, the Supreme Court judges have the powers to uphold the decisions made by the high court judges or overrule based on the facts provided. The courts also act on both the civil cases and criminal cases brought before them (Baum, 2011).

Appointment of the Supreme Court judges.

Many Constitutions are silent on judicial qualifications. It meticulously summarizes qualifications for the Senate, the House of Representatives and the presidency, but it does not give a gist of advice for judicial appointments other than affirming that justices should exhibit «good conduct.» Due to this, selections are governed primarily by tradition, and this attracts many controversies (Baum, 2011).

The Constitution gives a broad provision on parameters for the judicial nomination process. It provides the responsibility for nominating the federal judges and justices to the president. It also requires that the appointments be confirmed by the Senate (Baum, 2011). During the period of filling a vacancy or new supreme judge position, recommendations always come from the Department of Justice, members of Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the American Bar Association and sitting judges and justices, but other judicial hopefuls even nominate themselves. After vetting, the president will select the judge based on;

  • Experience of the judge

  • The political ideology of the magistrate (those with similar ideologies have the upper hand).

  • Party and personal loyalties to the president

  • Ethnicity and gender

Effects of the supreme court on politics and culture.

The Supreme Court has a primary influence on the political field. The court has a jurisdiction to listen and give judgments on political issues. This makes the president appoint mainly those judges who have similar political ideologies with him or her. In many cases, the judges are in the same political parties as the president. On doing this, the Supreme Court judges’ appointment and constitution become a matter of grave political contention both in the present and in the future. This issue is brought about by opposition parties also having an interest of being represented in the court regarding ideologies.

The supreme court composition and rulings can always polarize countries such as America on cultural lines since most decisions are given differently due to cultural considerations and basing on the historical norms of the court dating back to several decades ago. For example, it has always been a culture that the Supreme Court judges are one way or the other be affiliated to the president; this is a culture that’s almost 50 years old.


Baum, L. (2011). The Supreme Court. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Millhiser, I. (2015). Injustices: The Supreme Court’s history of comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted.

Urofsky, M. I. (2015). Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its role in the Court’s history and the nation’s constitutional dialogue.