National Constitution Center president Jeffrey Rosen is joined by University of North Carolina professor Michael Gerhardt to answer reader questions about the Supreme Court and other matters.
About the Supreme Court
The United States Supreme Court is the highest court of the judicial branch of government—its duty is to interpret the law. Since 1803, the Supreme Court has been understood to have the power to declare national, state, and local laws unconstitutional. Article III of the Constitution defines the Supreme Court and which cases it can hear, and how other federal courts are established.
Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s constitutional literacy adviser, looks at Ireland’s historic gay marriage referendum, and if it could influence the United States Supreme Court.
On May 20, 1996, the Supreme Court issued an early landmark decision supporting the right of gays under the Constitution to seek protection from discrimination.
Lyle Denniston, the National Constitution Center’s constitutional literacy adviser, looks at a test case that now awaits the Supreme Court about the concepts of “one-person, one-vote” and equality among voters.
On May 18, 1896, the Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision upheld the legality of racial segregation in America. Plessy was later overturned, and it holds a controversial place in the Court’s legacy.