In this case, the court had to decide whether an act of Congress or the Constitution was the supreme law of the land. The Judicial Act of 1789 gave the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus (regulations that require government officials to act in accordance with the law). A lawsuit was filed under the Act, but the Supreme Court held that the Constitution did not allow the court to have original jurisdiction over the matter. Since Article VI of the Constitution establishes the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, the Court ruled that an act of Congress that violated the Constitution could not be upheld. In subsequent cases, the court also established its power to sweep away state laws deemed unconstitutional. Article III of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial power of the federal government. The text of the Constitution refers only to the Supreme Court, but it has given the Senate and House of Representatives the power to create lower courts (called “lower courts”) if necessary. Once submitted, a bill is referred to the appropriate committee for review. There are 17 Senate committees with 70 subcommittees and 23 House committees with 104 subcommittees. Committees are not set in stone, but change in number and form with each new congress, as is necessary for an effective revision of legislation. Each committee oversees a specific policy area, and subcommittees deal with more specific policy areas. For example, the House Ways and Means Committee includes subcommittees on Social Security and Trade. Prior to the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment (1869), the provisions of the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government.
After the amendment was passed, the Supreme Court began to rule that most of its provisions were equally applicable to states. Therefore, the court has the final say on when a right is constitutionally protected or when a constitutional right is violated. The United States Congress consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Learn more about the powers of the U.S. federal legislature. The Supreme Court plays a very important role in our constitutional system of government. First, as the highest court in the land, it is the court of last resort for those seeking justice. Second, through its power of judicial review, it plays a critical role in ensuring that each branch of government recognizes the limits of its own power. Third, it protects civil rights and freedoms by removing laws that violate the Constitution. Finally, it sets appropriate limits for democratic governments by ensuring that popular majorities cannot pass laws that harm and/or unduly exploit unpopular minorities.
Essentially, it serves to ensure that the changing views of a majority do not undermine the core values common to all Americans, namely freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and due process. Congress, as one of the three equal branches of government, is vested with important powers by the Constitution. All legislative power of the government belongs to Congress, which means that it is the only part of the government that can enact new laws or amend existing laws. Law enforcement agencies promulgate regulations that have the full force of law, but these are only under the authority of laws enacted by Congress. The president can veto bills passed by Congress, but Congress can also override a veto by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and House of Representatives. Article III, section II, of the Constitution establishes the jurisdiction (legal capacity to hear a case) of the Supreme Court. The Court has jurisdiction at first instance (a case is heard by the Court) for certain cases, such as disputes between two or more States and/or cases involving ambassadors and other public ministers. The court has jurisdiction over almost all other cases involving a constitutional and/or federal question of law (the court may hear the case on appeal). Some examples are cases in which the United States is a contracting party, treaty cases, and cases involving ships on the high seas and on inland waterways (admiralty cases). The Senate retains several powers for itself: it ratifies treaties by a two-thirds majority and confirms the appointment of the president by a majority of votes.