Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

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.

Has the time come to shut down the Electoral College?

March 22, 2019 By Lyle Denniston

Constitution Daily contributor Lyle Denniston looks at the current debate over the Electoral College and why history, as well as contemporary politics, may be stacked against its elimination.

Packing the Supreme Court explained

March 20, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

Senator Marco Rubio plans to propose a new constitutional amendment to permanently limit the Supreme Court to nine Justices. While Rubio faces a difficult task, the effort does raise some questions.

Supreme Court accepts four cases for its next term

March 18, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

On Monday, the Supreme Court said it will hear arguments in four new cases after October 2019, including an appeal about the sentence of D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo and an immigration-related identify fraud dispute in Kansas.

On This Day:  You have a right to an attorney

March 18, 2019 By NCC Staff

It was on this day in 1963 that the Supreme Court handed down the Gideon decision, which guaranteed the rights of the accused to have a public defender in court.

Does the census actually count everyone and should it?

March 12, 2019 By Lyle Denniston

The high-stakes fight now unfolding in the Supreme Court over the 2020 census, testing whether everyone in America should be asked about their citizenship, is now intensifying into a major constitutional controversy.

An important date in Supreme Court history for the press

March 9, 2019 By NCC Staff

Today is the anniversary of one of the most important decisions in Supreme Court history that affected the civil rights movement and the free speech powers of the press: the case of the New York Times v. Sullivan.

Dred Scott decision still resonates today

March 6, 2019 By NCC Staff

On March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Dred Scott case, which had a direct impact on the coming of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln's presidency four years later.

On this day, the Missouri Compromise is approved

March 3, 2019 By NCC Staff

On March 3, 1820, Congress approved the Missouri compromise, a law that maintained a balance in the Senate between free and slave states. The pact only lasted 34 years, and its elimination was one of the contributing factors that led to the Civil War.

Gibbons v. Ogden: Defining Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause

March 2, 2019 By NCC Staff

On March 2, 1824, the Supreme Court ruled in Gibbons v. Ogden, holding that Congress may regulate interstate commerce.

Supreme Court confirms Excessive Fines Clause applies to states

February 20, 2019 By Scott Bomboy

In a unanimous ruling on Tuesday, the Supreme Court overturned an Indiana Supreme Court decision that said that part of federal Constitution’s Eighth Amendment didn’t apply to the states.

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