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Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch is the only wing of government not directly elected by the populace. Instead of being elected, members of the Judicial Branch are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The head office of the American Judiciary is the United States Supreme Court. The Court is composed of 9 judges. There are no term limits to being a Supreme Court judge. A judge will leave office upon retirement or death, with death usually following closely upon retirement.

The Supreme Court is the highest of several federal courts where cases and appeals are brought before federal judges. These lower federal courts are arranged around the nation geographically. There are also 13 United States courts of appeals.

The main duty of the Judicial Branch is to interpret the Constitution as it applies to the laws of the nation. For instance, if Congress were to pass a law prohibiting equal protection under the law or refusing the right to assemble peaceably, the Supreme Court would be where Americans could challenge the Constitutional nature of that law.

It is imperative to keep the Judicial Branch in our prayers as they use ethical and moral standards to interpret America’s Constitution as it applies to her modern laws.

Featured Member of the Judicial Branch for Prayer

Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Elena Kagan was born in April 1960, the middle of three children in a New York Jewish family. She earned an A.B. from Princeton University and a BCL from Worcester College, Oxford University. She obtained her law J.D. from Harvard Law School. She was always either summa or magna cum laude.

Kagan worked as a law clerk for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. She later entered private practice as an associate at a Washington, D.C. law firm.

In 1991, she became an assistant professor of law at Harvard, and was tenured as a full professor four years later. Her interests focus on administrative law, including the role of the President of the United States. For four years she served as President Bill Clinton’s Associate White House Counsel and Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Kagan was named the first female dean of Harvard Law School in 2003. She is credited with building a consensus-building leadership style, and worked on improving student satisfaction. She is also responsible for the school’s exceeding a capitalization campaign but was also at the center of the university’s dispute with ROTC about campus recruiting.

In May 2010, President Obama chose Kagan to succeed Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. She was confirmed by the Senate in July. She is the first justice appointed without any prior experience as a judge since William Rehnquist in 1972. She is the fourth female justice in the Court’s history.

Justice Kagan has never married and has no children. She lists her faith as Conservative Judaism.

 

IN THE NEWS

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of now 13-year-old Elena Fry and her family, allowing them to pursue their case in federal court without having to fight their way through a lengthy administrative process in lower courts first.

Elena (who no longer attends schools in that district) has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which limits her motor skills and mobility. The lawsuit stated she is not impaired cognitively, but has been diagnosed with ADHD inattentive type and seizure disorder. Elena has a service dog named Wonder, a hypoallergenic Goldendoodle, prescribed to her, and obtained to assist her with mobility and balance problems and increase her independence. When Elena was eight, an 11-member school team determined she did not need the dog as she had a full-time aid provided by the school. The family sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act, saying the school was wrong in denying Wonder into the classrooms.

The school district has been fighting the Fry’s lawsuit with one administrative or legal delay after another.

Writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, Justice Elena Kagan said, “Nothing in the nature of the Fry’s suit suggests any implicit focus on the adequacy of (Elena’s) education. The Frys could have filed essentially the same complaint if a public library or theater had refused admittance to Wonder.”

 




US Supreme Court Seal


The Court

Judicial Branch Prayer Needs

President Trump has made his first nomination to a lower court by naming Amul Thapar to a seat on the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Senate confirmation is required.

Hundreds of people affected  by 9/11 filed a lawsuit in a federal court in lower Manhattan against Saudi Arabia, seeking monetary damages for the kingdom’s alleged involvement in the attack.

Pray for the president’s court nominees yet to be named, and for the nomination of Judge Gorsuch.