Monday, July 1, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Cases

From time to time I blog about opinions of the Supreme Court of Ohio that explain the law that applies within our state. But as you know, we have a dual system of law. The U.S. Supreme Court announces federal law that applies to the entire country. 

That court was busy this last week, finishing its current term that began in October. The Supreme Court released opinions on the Voting Rights Act, marital status for same-sex couples, and land use regulations, among others. And although some Americans may disagree with a controversial court ruling, everyone must understand that our Constitution gives the U.S. Supreme Court the final word governing legal matters across all 50 states.

Not every case can reach the supreme court level.  Some state cases may wend their way to the Ohio Supreme Court, but even fewer state cases are heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Even so, federal law affects everyone, whether we have a pending case or not. Part of our duties as American citizens and as voters is to understand the operation of each branch of government.

To get a better handle on the judicial branch and recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings, you may visit SCOTUSblog and click on the “plain English” posts on the decisions. There you will find a good summary of recent U.S. Supreme Court cases.

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