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Little Known Facts about the Supreme Court

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While networks like C-Span and political blogs have tried to interject a bit of excitement into what goes on in Washington D.C., the goings-on over at the Supreme Court tend to be remarkably dull. Often times, cameras are not allowed inside the Supreme Court so Americans sitting at home and school children in classrooms all across the country are not given a chance to witness how the system really works. Because of that, it is safe to say that the Supreme Court is the least understood branch of federal government. Let’s take a look at some little known facts that help to make the Supreme Court much more interesting place than most people realize.

Many people don’t know that the President of the United States has the right to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court. Since not every President has a background in law, this right isn’t exercised on a regular basis. The last time it happened was with former President Nixon arguing on behalf of a family who was suing Time Magazine for invasion of privacy. Perhaps one of the main reasons why a sitting president no longer tries to argue cases in front of the Supreme Court is the possibility that he will come out on the wrong side of the decision, which is exactly what happened to President Nixon when the court sided with Time Magazine.

Not all Presidents have come up short when it comes to arguing a case in front of the Supreme Court. Fans of the hit film Amistad remember that President John Quincy Adams argued on behalf of the slaves who won their freedom thanks to the ruling by the Supreme Court.

For a university to be able to brag to wealthy alums and to prospective students that their law school has churned out a Supreme Court justice is worth its weight in gold, but no other school can claim that two Supreme Court justices not only attended their school but did it at the same time. Stanford University has that honor with justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Chief Justice William Rehnquist being classmates. No word on if the two were pals.

Every year, the Supreme Court begins a new session where they decide on important cases to hear. Many people do not know that the annual Supreme Court session always begins on the same day. Every year, the first Monday in October sees the court reconvene for another year of landmark cases and critical analysis.

Due to the extremely sensitive nature of some of the cases heard before the Supreme Court, sometimes, false names are used to protect the identity of various participants. No false name is more widely known than plaintiff Jane Roe in the historic Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion. In the years since the case was heard, the woman behind Jane Roe has spoken publicly about the case and her real name, Norma McCorvey is known, although not nearly as widely as her nom de plume

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