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Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch is the only wing of government not directly elected by the populace. Instead of being elected, members of the Judicial Branch are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The head office of the American Judiciary is the United States Supreme Court. The Court is composed of 9 judges. There are no term limits to being a Supreme Court judge. A judge will leave office upon retirement or death, with death usually following closely upon retirement.

The Supreme Court is the highest of several federal courts where cases and appeals are brought before federal judges. These lower federal courts are arranged around the nation geographically. There are also 13 United States courts of appeals.

The main duty of the Judicial Branch is to interpret the Constitution as it applies to the laws of the nation. For instance, if Congress were to pass a law prohibiting equal protection under the law or refusing the right to assemble peaceably, the Supreme Court would be where Americans could challenge the Constitutional nature of that law.

It is imperative to keep the Judicial Branch in our prayers as they use ethical and moral standards to interpret America’s Constitution as it applies to her modern laws.

Featured Member of the Judicial Branch for Prayer

Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Merrick Brian Garland was born in November 1952 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Niles West High School in Skokie, and attended Harvard College on a Scholarship. After obtaining an undergraduate degree, he earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then for Justice William Brennan of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Garland was a special assistant to the Attorney General in the Carter administration before entering into the private practice of law. After eight years, he returned to public service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia as a prosecutor. He returned briefly to private practice, then joined the Clinton administration in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton nominated Garland to the D.C. Circuit and he was confirmed by the Senate. He became chief judge in 2013. He was nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The U.S. Senate denied him confirmation hearings, citing the “Biden rule,” that kept presidents from nominations to the high court during a presidential election year.

Judge Garland is married to Lynn and they have two daughters. He is a Conservative Jew.

 

IN THE NEWS

Depending on the outcome of a case now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD) may be forced to change its ways.

Current debate rules require candidates to reach 15 percent in five national polls picked by the CPD in order to appear on the presidential debate stage. Candidates also must be on the ballot in enough states to have a mathematical chance at winning an electoral majority.

But 2016 presidential contenders Gary Johnson and Dr. Jill Stein, along with their respective parties and others, have alleged that the CPD violated antitrust laws by intentionally shutting out minor party presidential candidates. They sued, and their suit was dismissed. The case has been appealed and will be heard on April 21 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit where Merrick Garland is the Chief Judge—the nominee of President Obama to fill the Supreme Court seat newly occupied by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

 




US Supreme Court Seal


The Court

Judicial Branch Prayer Needs

A panel of judges from the D.C. Court of Appeals is grappling with boundaries of privacy expectations when criminal activity was surveilled by police using cell phone tracking.

New Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch showed himself a frequent and energetic questioner during oral arguments on his first day, apologizing for taking too much time.

Pray for Justice Gorsuch as he begins his lifetime term as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court.