TAH Lesson 17: Article 3 – The Judicial Branch (Supreme Court and the Lower Courts)

The last (third) branch of the government is the Judiciary (the courts).

This includes all the federal (national ) courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court. The states have their own court too  and are included in Article 3 . The state courts are lower than  federal (national) courts. The role of the Judiciary is to interpret the laws.

The courts determine if laws are legal (right).

If the law is not legal, the law is called “unconstitutional.
Such laws are invalid (not allowed).

The courts will determine if someone is guilty or not guilty.
Usually, a jury will find someone guilty or not guilty. Sometimes just a judge decides if someone is guilty or not guilty.

A trial by jury is a right. It means that other people from your area will decide if you broke the law.

Sometimes juries, and courts, make mistakes.n Sometimes court make the wrong decision about a law.

A person can  “appeal” a decision of if they were found “guilty”. There is a set of special courts set up for appeals.

The last court of appeal is the Supreme Court. Whatever the Supreme Court says is the end.

There is no court higher than the Supreme Court. What they say is final!!!

The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed (chosen) by the President and approved by Congress. They have life terms- (they can only be removed by dying, voluntarily retiring or by impeachment). There are 9 judges on the Supreme Court.

How are the Supreme Court Judges different than the President and Congress?


Why is the Supreme Court so important?


What are the two major roles (jobs) of the courts? Why do you think there are 9 judges on the Supreme Court?


Why is a trial by jury important?


After completing the Supreme Court activity …watch the power point on the three branches. As a review for Articles 1-3.

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