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Supreme Court Visitor’s Film

You are required to watch the visitor’s film at:  http://www.c-span.org/video/?100767-1/supreme-court-visitors-film

And, everyone must post a comment below before the end of class today.


80 Comments

  1. I appreciated how this film illustrated the humanity, or should i say fallibility of supreme court judges. I feel like the supreme court is often portrayed as being almost divine and interpreting the constitution as if it is scripture. Does this not allow them to cloak themselves with the awesomeness of the supreme court to color themselves as being above politics? It seems they frequently make highly political decisions under the guise of constitutionalism.

  2. This film is a way to look at the courts system and how the Supreme Court operates. From viewing this, I feel that these justices that we believe hold all power also can be biased. It is interesting to see how their relationships intertwine with the court and each other.

  3. Supreme Court Justice Video 5/18

    I found the video to be enlightening. The interview amongst the Supreme Court Justices sitting in a circle and answering questions was different to see as I’m not familiar with learning about politics in this light. It seemed honest and raw. It made me wonder about each judge’s background and which judges were “allied” with each other at the time. I wonder why this content isn’t still shared today amongst classroom curriculum and beyond that environment.

  4. I thought this was an interesting video as it gives a more clear look into the Supreme Court and how it works. In particular, I think it gave a much more human look into it. Seeing the Justices being actual people as weird as it may sound helps me understand more about how it operates. I was very suprised by the amount of paperwork there as many of thier offices were filled with it. I could only imagine how hard of a job it can be. I found it interesting that the Justices actually get along so well with each other despite them differing on opinions strongly sometimes. I thought Justice Ginsburg pointing out that they shake hands was good as it makes sense as it gives a more human approach to something that can be seemingly the opposite in the view of a normal citizen. I thought the film did a good job at showing the inner-workings but also who the Justices are as people, not just a system in the government.

  5. By far the best part of this film was the explanation of how the court actually works. Specifically, the description that of how a spectator may watch oral arguments in the Supreme Court and believe that a justice is having an exchange of ideas with an attorney, and how that understanding is flawed, was my favorite part of the film. The truth of the matter is that the court, during oral arguments, is having a dialogue with itself. It was this part of the film that earned the most respect from me for the Supreme Court. The idea that justices view themselves not as people conversing with other people (the attorneys) but rather an extension of the Court itself, was inspiring. However, we know that judges and justices do not leave their political leanings at the door, as evidenced by Prof. Lyles’ research (which indicated that we can predict with relative certainty which president appointed a judge or justice depending on how that judge or justice votes). One more thing that I’ll add about the film: it was fun to see the inside of the Court. I have heard from justices that they generally are not in favor of having cameras in the room while a case is being heard (for various reasons, but mainly because they worry that a snippet would be taken out of context), but to see them together in the court room and get a sense for what it might be like when a group of 9 people sit down and interpret our Constitution was cool.

  6. I found this interesting because I don’t know what I was expecting to occur looking behind the scenes of what really goes down. The Supreme Court holds so much power within out government but its so different when you get a look on what the justices are actually like. It takes so much to understand what oral argument really is and the film really wants the audience to understand that.

  7. This short film helped me to better understand some of the intricacies of the American legal system. As it explains, judges appointed by presidents hold the power to make rulings on laws without the threat of being removed in an election. This reminded me of one of the Lyles readings, which highlighted the fact that appointed judges are less likely to support capital punishment. This could be because the death penalty is an issue that brings out a lot of emotions among voters, and could easily affect how they vote with regard to their local judges. I was not aware of the high volume of cases the Supreme Court recieves. According to the film, they receive about 100 cases every week, and about 7000 a year, however only about 100 cases are reviewed each year. Former U.S. Solicitor General Drew S. Days III talked about the “remarkable experience” of testifying in the Supreme Court. He said it’s exciting because you feel like you’re just having a conversation with nine other people, and forget that anyone else is nearby. Dick Howard commends the integrity of the justices, and the intelligence he witnessed in the sometimes-sharp debates between them. I think the main lesson I took away from this was the importance of having unelected judges, because the politicization of our courts will lead to more politically-motivated, election-motivated rulings which may not reflect the true nature of our Consitution or Bill of Rights.

  8. This film gives an insightful look into what directly goes on with the Supreme Court. I believe it to be important to know the inner workings of them. I found the film interesting and it provided a look into the difficult discussions that are brought to them and the process of the court. One particular quote that resonated with me was along the lines of “if the court ever stopped defending the constitution, or the people stopped listening, then the land of the free would cease to exist”. It was also interesting seeing the relationship among the justices.

  9. The video showed and explained the Supreme Court’s duties and responsibilities of the court. The supreme court is multilayered and must be impartial when upholding the rule of law with equitable standards. However, does interpretation of 9 judges create equity in judgement when justices are influenced by the law? Billions of people depend on the interpretation of 9 people initially picked by 1 person. The video also showed how everyone involved in the SCJ, this includes public view and behind the scenes has a vital role interpreting the constitution and are supposed to make judgements according to the Constitution. I don’t think I feel anymore confident in the SCJ system after watching the video. I feel its even more of a catch 22 being a person of color. The constitution has been amended to allow some forms of equal treatment for people, but the constitution hasn’t been changed to uphold equity for people of color. The Supreme courts jobs is to uphold the Constitution. Who was the constitution created for? Who’s laws are we upholding? At who’s discretion or benefit?

  10. I found it particularly interesting that approximately 2500 people visit the Supreme Court a day. Such a high amount of people – I honestly assumed it was a more closed building given the high importance of the justices. They point out in the video that the Supreme Court has to publicly publish their decisions and how they came to these decisions unlike the Congress or other branches of the government. This transparency is imperative to our understanding inside the minds of the justices who hold these offices and their view on specific cases/topics that effect the nation. I really liked their willingness to listen to one another given the rule that all of the justices have to speak first in order for all of the justices to speak a second time – allowing every opinion to be heard and considered.

  11. It surprised me to see the justices of the Supreme Court speaking freely; I had some sort of feeling that they must be above regular human conversation. The narrator alluded to this feeling, noting how the justices are not detached specters. It’s obvious that the Supreme Court must be incredibly busy, but to see the amount of paper on Breyer’s desk really put the work of the Court into perspective. The Supreme Court does not stand still – there are far more than nine people working every day to carry out the oath of the highest court in the nation: equal justice under law.

    I also didn’t find Scalia very funny, despite his cavalier attitude.

  12. The film laid out some of the more important functions and features of the supreme court. You are meant to feel like a visitor walking and understanding the court. The most important topic covered for me was how the justices decided what cases are to be heard. The simple rule of 4 is applied when voting on the case to be heard, and this is where I begin to wonder about the politization. We know that at ideologically constitutionalists and the living constitution theory collied. We see some of the effects of this carry over into the makeup of the court today. As conservative judges essentially decide what to hear. Does this make the court too political? Should the court figure out a new way to vote on what cases to hear? The work that goes into researching and getting to know the cases seems not as important when you are in the minority ideologically. We will see if the makeup the court will change in the coming future. Or will the elaborate makeup of the system hold true?

  13. I thought that this film was extremely informative as to how the inner working of the supreme court occurred. I didn’t know that only 100 cases are taken a year. But I think that something important that I drew from the film was Ruth Bader Ginsburg stating that even though the constitution holds power, there were things fundamentally wrong with it in the beginning and that’s what makes the 9 justices’ job so important because they have the ability to change that. I think that this is one of the main things that make America. The possibility for change.

  14. It’s really interesting to see the role of the Supreme Court. Seeing the number of cases they have to Process shows me that being a Supreme Court Justice comes with a hefty amount of work. The media has influenced the way cases are dealt with today. Such as social media being a platform to give citizens a voice to speak up on injustices. For example, victims who died at the hands of cops. The people will go to social media and use it as a platform to push forth justice for those who died to police brutality. I also like to pitch in that hashtags do have power. When there is a hashtag that is trending in a political frame, the hashtag can be use as a call to action. As far as I am concerned about the constitution and laws I do feel like our laws need to be updated even our constitution. Like a lot needs to be changed and updated based on modern day society.

  15. Being someone who had the privilege to visit the Supreme Court a few years ago, it was interesting to see what was off-limits — the chambers, the offices, and the justices themselves. I’d personally argue that the Supreme Court is the least transparent of the three branches of government, so it was intriguing to see them discuss the basic routines of the court like questioning and discussions in the chambers. Unfortunately, the film itself is somewhat dated as a majority of the justices interviewed are no longer apart of the court. Still, it was extremely informative to see what past justices had to say about the traditions of the court itself.

  16. It is very interesting to have a closer look at what working in the Supreme Court looks like. We do not have much information on what processes and steps are in the Supreme Court. I agree with Justice Ginsburg’s comments on how the modern Constitution differs from the original Constitution, and how the modern Constitution includes individuals who were not part of “We the People” when the Constitution was formed, are significant. It truly emphasizes how the Constitution is always evolving and may be read to fit popular opinions of the day. I hope it continues to evolve and consider how other minorities should be also protected under it.

  17. It was interesting to see the day-to-day work of supreme court justices. Growing up, we were taught that the supreme court was this unattainable entity of immense power, but the film showed the humanity of the justices which I really appreciated. I also like to see how the justices interacted with each other and how each judge has to speak before a judge speaks twice. I also was intrigued by their process of interpreting the constitution depending on the case and society over time.

  18. This video addressed so many questions about the SC that I didn’t even know I had.
    It was especially interesting to view the SC from the perspective of the Solicitor General and lawyers arguing in front of the justices. One quote that provoked my thoughts was that “the power of the court runs on the trust of the people”. Many, especially liberals/democrats, have been skeptical about conservative judges recently appointed. We saw this most recently with the appointment of the avid trump supporter Justice Barrett, who many considered to be under-qualified. Although trust among left leaning citizens has been wavering, I think Justice Barrett restored a tiny bit of it by declining the request to block Indiana University’s vaccine mandate. This was a surprising act for many people considering Justice Barretts conservative background. Therefore, she was able to portray herself as a conservative justice that is capable of being impartial or making informed decisions supported by science. I would argue that this was a beneficial step towards restoring public faith in the courts even though it was quickly ruined with the abortion laws controversy. Also, Justice Ginsburg’s advice that lawyers should focus on “Elicit[ing] what’s in the decision maker’s mind rather than sticking to a prepared spill” is an approach that I think should be applied by every good conversationalist, not just lawyers.

  19. This film was so interesting and it was really great to have an “inside scoop” on what happens on a day to day basis and also to hear from the justices themselves. I thought it was interesting how in the film the emphasized there aren’t any “activist judges” just running around making decisions, but instead they are sent cases from which they have to choose which ones they take and I think even just picking who gets heard and who doesn’t is a political act itself. It may not have been this way when the film was made in the late 90’s but I definitely think that do everything the judges do on the court today is political, it often feels like they are there to affirm the opinions of the president/party who elected them.

  20. Watching this film was very intriguing since it gave us a closer look at the daily interactions of the justices and the Supreme Court. It was very interesting to see that the justices have a rule to shake hands at the start of every meeting. They also have a rule that every Justice gets to speak once during a hearing. It shows how the justices are people who may have differing thoughts and opinions and political stances, but they afford each other basic respect so that cases can be handled accordingly. It’s not often that we are taught about the way the justices of the supreme court interact with one another, and though I think it’s nice to see that the justices treat each other with respect, it’s also interesting to think about how each justice’s decision-making process is influence, either directly or indirectly, by their political alignment. I think that remains a wall that separates certain justices even now.

  21. This video was a good refresher to see how the Supreme Court operates. In my opinion, watching this clip reiterates that the Constitution is it a living document. You have these justices trying to make the best interpretation of the law, and they have the ability to try and persuade other justices. This is why the Constitution is adapting to the current time with the Supreme Court.

  22. I think it is very interesting to see what Supreme court justices do, since it’s not really shown. The number of cases that they have to go through on top actually attending trials is huge. In relation to the film I would definitely say the media has a huge impact on how cases are being dealt with now and especially during that past. The direction in which a case might go can definitely be influenced by media, whether it is fake news, movies, reality tv shows or podcasts.It was also refreshing to see the justices in action since we usually hear about them through lectures or read about their roles in books.

  23. I very much enjoyed watching this film and seeing the inner workings of the Supreme Court, especially the process involved in a Supreme Court decision. I sometimes feel like we solely focus on the decision on a Supreme Court case and, while it is extremely important, we forget to acknowledge the discussion and work that plays into every decision made by them. Additionally, it was refreshing seeing the justices in a new light. I feel like sometimes we forget that they are actual human beings rather than this powerful entity whose decisions influence the entire nation. Also, it is interesting seeing how they work with one another. A lot of the time, we view the SC as it being one side versus the other, and with that comes a lot of negative connotations regarding the justices. However, it was striking seeing the amount of respect the justices have for one another instead of this idea where there is one side versus the other.

  24. This video was a good introduction to the inner workings of the Court and does its best to explain the Court’s practices and principles as viewed by the justices themselves. I think the most striking thing to me was the discourse between the justices while they were being interviewed. The Supreme Court is made up of people who, just like the rest of us, have their own subjective opinions, beliefs, and realities. It is a very human endeavor to try and come to a decision through compromise but I fear this arrangement is capable of giving too much power to a few individuals. If a case is introduced to the Court, the decision of how it is going to affect the entire nation lies in the hands of just nine individuals, whose opinions are varied from each other and may well be varied from a large amount of the U.S. population.
    Even when the justices are being interviewed, they answer the same questions differently. For example, Scalia made it very clear that he held an Originalist view of the Constitution, believing that the way we interpret it does not need to change as time passes. This is in direct contrast to Ginsburg, who stated that the Constitution has to be interpreted differently than it was in the past because “We the people” did not originally intend to encompass all the peoples living in the United States. These differences of opinion seem as though they are supposed to be representational of the differences of opinion of all U.S. citizens.

  25. I think it was very interesting to see what Supreme Court Justices do on a daily basis because I think that lots of Americans may underestimate the work they do so I think it was great to hear from each Justice individually. I found it interesting that they had to create a rule that each Justice gets to talk once before a Justice gets to talk twice when they are deciding on a case. It makes one realize that the Justices are people just like us. I also found it interesting to hear RBG’s perspective from when she was a lawyer and she argued her first case in the Supreme Court. It is inspiring for me to think that someone like me can work their way up to the highest court in the land.

  26. Seeing the magnitude of how many cases the Supreme Court reviews on a weekly/possibly daily basis is very eye-opening, in considering the responsibility they have in deciding whether to “take” the case or not (via certiorari). While today there is a lot of conflict from the public on the Supreme Court’s power and rulings, this c-span video particularly took a more favorable perspective even on denying in cases. It was interesting in seeing this decision making overall.

  27. I think it’s interesting to actually see how many cases that the Supreme Court actually receives. I find it hard to believe that every single case is reviewed before deciding if they should take the cases. I also like that when the Justices “argues” with a lawyer, that it is more of a conversation than an argument. It’s nice to see the Supreme Court as humans whether than these individuals with great power whose decisions impacts every one’s lives. It’s nice to see them laughing and joking and explaining how hard and nerve wrecking the job is. I liked that the film showed that the media showed that sometimes the media does not provide the correct information. This is an important point because a lot of individuals use the media as their main source of resources to be informed about the cases that the Supreme Court takes.

  28. The supreme court has changed significantly from cases many where when the supreme court was still newly developed and cases such as the Dred Scott case that changed the constitution as an individual in the video stated the 14th amendment was the second bill of rights. I like that they show a day in the life of the supreme court because you get a sense of what its like even by not being there physically. the fact that they receive 100 cases a week and the supreme court only views about 100 a year which shows how minimal cases are handled in the supreme court. The process of how a case gets taken to the supreme court is important to understand as we only know how many judges there are not necessarily how there positions work and the video helps understand their positions and how cases are handled On February 28, 1984, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Grove City College v. Bell. A 6-3 majority of the Court held that when students receive federally funded grants, Title IX requirements only apply to the specific program or activity that was benefitted by the grants. My favorite quote was when an individual in 14:34 states individuals that wrote the constitution” produced words that guide us in solving problems that occur 200 years later” it just helps understand the statement that many make that “history repeats itself” in a much better phrased statement. Although cases aren’t handled properly the system of the supreme court helps manage the cases handled improperly by lower courts. I enjoyed the video as it helps understand the system by internal sources within the institution.

  29. I think it’s intriguing how the Supreme Court choose which cases are chosen for certiorari. It’s interesting to see the Supreme Court in a more positive light compared to the criticism we have seen in recent years. While the Supreme Court is a breeding ground for controversy, I find it fascinating to see how the judges view denying a case to be heard. I love what Chief Justice Thomas said “When we don’t take a case, often it is reported that the Supreme Court today upheld or the Supreme Court today ordered, when in fact we’ve done no such thing.” This statement reflects the purpose of the Supreme Court and it’s job to decide on the most pressing issues.

  30. The film depicted what an average day at the Supreme Court looked like and showcased the Justices perspectives on the interpretation of the law. I really enjoyed hearing about their process of decision making and seeing how none of them go about the process the same. It’s also nice to hear the changes in the Supreme Court. I believe it was one of the chief justices that introduced the constant theme of allowing all justices to speak at least once before someone speaks twice. This allows a level of fairness which is very well needed in an institution that is supposed to establish equity and fairness, in my opinion.

  31. I disagree with some of the ways the justices characterized the court and its activities. One thing, was I believe it was Justice Thomas, along with Justice O’Connor that the court doesn’t say anything when it doesn’t hear a case, particularly when they see headlines after they deny certiorari to a case, that they upheld the decision or something similar. I think this is really a semantic argument, or they are speaking from being in a vacuum after joining the Court. Of course, the Supreme Court could not hear every case that is petitioned to them every year, but in practice, when they don’t grant certiorari, it keeps the lower court ruling in place, whether they explicitly say that it is upheld or not. I say to the normal person, it doesn’t matter whether the Court explicitly said it or not, but what happens in practice when it doesn’t.

    Justice Breyer said that the Court isn’t secretive like people make it out to be, because everything is in the opinions. That is true, for the ultimate opinions released by the Court, but completely ignores all discussions during their conferences, which as they noted only the justices are in the room. He says this is unlike the legislative bodies, where reasoning isn’t explained, but they have open debates. No one besides the Justices will know what goes on in a conference. Cases are routinely denied certiorari with out so much as a sentence, simply released as a list of cases after a heading that says they were denied. Where is the open information about this? It doesn’t exist.

    One thing I thought was interesting was that Justice Rehnquist instituted order during their conferences. It sounds like it takes place in a way that is similar to the new format of oral arguments that allows the justices to ask questions in order of seniority, which as he said, makes it a bit more equitable instead of particular people dominating the limited time for arguments.

    • great point: “No one besides the Justices will know what goes on in a conference. Cases are routinely denied certiorari with out so much as a sentence, simply released as a list of cases after a heading that says they were denied. Where is the open information about this? It doesn’t exist.”

  32. I think Professor Howard’s initial statement that the Justices are apolitical figures, solely based on the fact that they are not elected, is a fallacy because all people have biases based on their personal life experiences. Additionally, as seen with President Obama’s Justice nominations, they were held up until he left office in order to prevent more democratic leaning Judges from gaining life terms in the Court while, contrarily, after Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death, a conservative leaning Justice quickly replaced her because of former President Trump’s desperate attempt to sway the Supreme Court as more conservative as one of his last few actions before he left office. The film was interesting seeing the process of the inner mechanics of the Supreme Court. It is surprising to note that there are only just over 100 Justices in all of American history but it shouldn’t be due to their life terms. I found it fascinating to hear the perspectives of modern Justices on the Supreme Court because they seemed to want to clear up what the public assumes about them not hearing cases. Hearing the personal experiences of the Justices is interesting as they do hold immense power over legislation and the interviews seem to ground them as human beings instead of all-mighty figures. Much of the factual aspects of the documentary, regarding how cases are presented in front of the Supreme Court through the Writ of Certiorari, were already covered in the introduction lectures but it was nice to reinforce this information again. It is also interesting to note that Professor Howard explains that, without the power of the purse or sword, the Supreme Court needs to abide by general public opinion.

  33. Watching this about the supreme court it painful because we go back to a constitution that was written so long ago by white men. They talk about that fact that even today the court looks at the constitution and the “history” I think that the fact that they try to make a document that was written two hundred years ago make sense among “we the people” makes no sense to me as to why they would consider this relevant. I think that the system is so wrong and needs so much reviewing because times have really changed and they will continue to change . They talk about “is the law constitutional” to who? what person? who the people? Let’s be real we don’t all get the same consideration there is so much proof that skin colors affect the severity of the person’s sentence no matter what situation. It is extremely hard to believe that they can use this document to determine todays issues.

    • Hi Itzayanna,
      I might take issue with the sentence “written so long ago by white men.” Keep in mind, as we will read in the text, there were “white men” who fought against slavery. Is it only that they were “white men,” or, that many of the framers were white who enslaved and/or supported slavery?

  34. In almost all of my previous history or introductory government courses, I have found that the inner workings of the judicial system are skipped over. It is usually denominated as the one with the least power, however after learning more about how it works I would have to disagree. I truly do feel an equality between the importance of these three branches. The short film was a very informative look inside the inner proceedings of the SCOTUS and very important to know. While the judicial system does not have power or the sword or the purse- it does have the most relevant opinions on the laws by which the entire countries’ behavior is decided constitutional, or worthy of punishment. Many court cases have changed laws- which are famously hard to change. Something I found interesting was that in the film, it is mentioned that the Supreme Court must wait for the people to bring problems to them rather than interfering without invitation. I like this quality of the court because it represents issues that are genuinely pressing to the public itself even if not every case can be picked.

  35. I love that RBG says “the constitution embraces the day, although it didn’t at the start”. I think she showed how the Constitution didn’t represent everyone before amendments, and even now can fail to represent all the new societal changes. But it is important nevertheless to take into account present day when interpreting the constitution. I find it interesting that the judges claim that they are apolitical and oral argument can change their thoughts as they enter. Yet Justice Thomas clearly says that before they go into conference he already has his decision. To me, this film is solidifying that after taking a case, it is a big game to get as many people on your “side” to pass what you think* is right. I know the professor doesn’t like work ‘right’ when it is a matter of if it is legal. In contrast to what this film attempts to portrays, the justices interpretation can only be seen through a lens of their morals and reasoning. Therefore, what they think is right more likely than not impacts their decision regarding legality. Then is becomes a push and pull game to get the majority.

  36. I may come off as a low class wannabe scholar, however, I must say: I absolutely loath when people insist that the court is apolitical. I understand the theory and its reasoning for being unelected and all that federalist paper lingo, but it is just not that way in praxis. The film at one point asserts that the justices effectively decide on national issues from civil rights to property law, and then in the next segment they proclaim themselves to be apolitical. To me, politics is merely the distribution of power among identities (race, class, sex, gender, etc.). I think anyone from conservative originalists to radical leftists can agree that the court does in fact weigh in on issues involving civil rights and other laws that affect both citizens and residents– but the moment you simplify this phase into “the court is a political institution” or “the court issues political dicta”, millions will wail otherwise. Perhaps I’m not understanding… do they mean to say the court is internally apolitical (notwithstanding its entire appointment system)? The power implications behind the apolitical sentiment are profound; I’m sure there are several books and opinion pieces on it. Overall, this is a great introductory film on the SCOTUS. I really enjoyed the interview with the justices as they are cloaked secrets to me.

  37. The Supreme Court being one the most powerful courts in the United States has a system where judged are almost making decisions on cases that are affecting the nation. Some of the decisions affect them negatively socially. Justice Scalia made an interesting point which defined the contextual decision on many cases through the document of the Constitution which was written over 200 years ago. Not only is this an interesting find but it can be very difficult applying old contextual laws to a newer society, which can eventually lead to a reform. I really enjoy the video because it gives a clear indication and deeper point of view of what goes on in the Supreme Court. Justices and their whole team have limited time to make a decision on very popular cases, and it’s among them nine to decide on the right decision, However, all nine justices have different feelings and point of views on a certain case.

  38. It’s interesting to hear how the Supreme Court was not always held to the highest esteem that it is held to today and how it had to “earn respect as a co-equal branch of government” as well as covering the Dred Scott case being, “the court’s great self-inflicted wound”, and how it impacted the Supreme Court. It was also surprisingly great to see the Notorious RBG in this video, as she points to how interpretations of the Constitution have changed over the years from how it was originally interpreted in some important cases. Overall, it was great to see a different perspective from those who serve on the Supreme Court and learn about what goes into each of their processes to give a better understanding on how each decision was decided.

  39. The Supreme Court is the highest and most esteemed court in the nation. Presidents nominate judges and the Senate confirms them as justices. Court clerks do a lot of the work at the supreme court due to the volume of cases they recieve, which the film highlights as being very broad. The justices receive cases as small as business class action suits and presidential power review cases. What was interesting to me was the adaptability of the courts to enhance or suppress the will of congress and public politics. For example, chief justice Tony deeming congress ineligible to make impactful reform about slavery during the Dred Scott cases. In the film they repeat that the Supreme Court is ‘beyond the changing tides of politics’ despite the justices’ entire reasoning for a seat on the court is due to politics. The court itself has politics it abides by, it’s just called stare decisis in their case. The video also establishes that the purpose of the Supreme Court is to protect and uphold the constitution, by way of their decisions and rulings. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg admits she is enamored by the power the bench has and the importance of her opinion in matters brough to the highest and most selective court in the land.

  40. It was an interesting video especially because they give us a insight of the Supreme Court. I’ve always wondered how the decisions of a case are made. This helped me understand how difficult is the process. If I have to be sincere, I always judged the Supreme Court and this video made me remember that they are human beings just like me that have to make harder decisions that affects others. I imagined how hard it is.

  41. This film was very helpful to see how the Supreme Court works behind the scenes. It takes us beyond just the facts of a case to the interconnectedness behind how decisions are made. Moreover, the anecdotes from each Supreme Court justice make the Court cases a bit more real than just reading about them from a textbook. Something that I didn’t expect was that the opinions can take months to write and take even longer to revise, it was really eye-opening to see how much work in persuasion and compromise that it takes. Lastly, it was really great to see RBG, the icon that she is.

  42. This video was very informative. I’ve always wondered about how the Supreme Court is run and how impossible their job seems. They always seem like these figures that is unreal and it makes me forget they’re people who have lives. It actually shocks me that they even speak to the public (i.e doing interviews) because they seem really private. A lot has changed after Marbury v. Madison, the SCOTUS has more power than it did before 1803. I feel like the job of a justice is a lot more unpleasant than it seems. While exclusive, it sounds exhausting! to be seeing a hundred cases a day, that seems humanly impossible yet they do it everyday for months.

  43. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the Supreme Court is an institution made out of living people who experience the world just as we do. It’s good to have a reminder that it is regular people who make these decisions and they aren’t just figureheads. In their hands are some of the most important and impactful decisions that pertain to us all, but they’re human and approach these situations within the best of their abilities. I found the video insightful into the inner workings of the Court because it’s interesting to see how these decisions actually come to life. The process is rarely spoken about, but all of these decisions emerge from somewhere and have a lasting impact on our lives, it’s good to understand how it all comes to be.

  44. The video gives us a look into the day-to-day operations of the Supreme Court and some of the institutional values attached to this branch of government. I found the interactions between the justices to be interesting since it seemed like they all have a good relationship and trust each other to interpret the Constitution to the best of their abilities. Also, it was nice and interesting to see all of the packets of writs being presented to the court and listening to the justices talk about writs. Also, I agree with Justice Breyer when he says it’s amazing to still use the words of a constitution that is older than 200 years to still help courts make decisions. Overall, this video succeeds at demonstrating why many citizens may feel detached or just not knowledgeable about the judicial branch. Compared to the other two branches, justices cannot just use the same sort of political language or be behave like activists as legislators do. They are much more constrained by the constitution, there is a lot more professionalism involved with the culture, a lot more thinking and private discussions involved, and there is just a different type of culture involved when it comes to judging and enforcing the law.

  45. This video was very interesting to me because I found it to be very transparent! I find that the Supreme Court tends to be more mysterious because it is not common to see the daily workings of the Court on the news or regular tv. It was super interesting to see the consideration that goes into decisions and to hear how the justices try to decide on particular matters. The film also helps to show people that the Supreme Court is also human and they try to make unbiased decisions.

  46. I very much enjoyed this particular video as a way of intorducing the Supreme Court in a generalized history of it, how it operates, and the philosophies of which judges of the court decide cases and write opinions on. What Justice Thomas said about how he often has a particular opinion in mind coming into a case and that, with a few exceptions, will leave the case with at least a very similar opinion shows that Justices are humans with their own set opinions on certain manners (specifically in terms of the Constitution). On the other hand, the incredible effort that is said to be taken in writing an opinion and how much of that time is spent trying to rewrite the opinion to persuade other justices to the Majority shows that the Court is often an institution of compromise. This process of compromise I believe and the fact that the justices are often reflective of public opinion (at the time of their appointments) is a key part of their continued legitimacy within the American public at large. The statement that the Court is the only institution that feels obligated always to give reasoning to its decisions is also something that I feel to be very important. While some may not agree with said reasoning, the fact that one is handed in all cases allows for a level of understanding of how cases end up being what they end up being. This understanding, for an institution that is stated to base its legitimacy upon the public’s acceptance of it, is another key tool of keeping the public on its side. Points like this really give a great insight into the court overall and is a watching I’d highly recommend to anybody just starting to learn to become a lawyer.

  47. Like always when watching the supreme court, I felt very torn in how to think about it. On one hand, the civility and professionalism that one often hears about was on full display. Scalia and RBG really were friends! On the other, the political dimensions really seem to give lie to the notion of impartiality. I was struck by the little back and forth of those two justices, where Scalia first said, sort of sheepishly, that he doesn’t think anything has changed in the constitution since it was written. He was notorious for that mindset, which almost seems to refuse his JOB of interpreting the constitution. He was basically bemoaning that it would be interpreted at all. Then RBG got right in there, and the other two couldn’t deny any of her (pretty straightforward) arguments. This is the basic conservative vs. liberal split that has been used as a weapon by successive administrations in their appointments. In the case we just looked at, the point of the court is supposed to be impartiality and not being subject to the whims of vacillating administrations. That’s not the full truth, unfortunately, when Reagan could appoint the staunch Scalia and Clinton could then appoint liberal RBG.

  48. I thought that Justice O’Connor’s point that a denial of certiorari has no precedential value was interesting because, while she is right that a denial of certiorari doesn’t set or build off of any precedent, it still often feels like the Supreme Court is saying something when they deny certiorari to cases regarding current hot-button issues. It feels like the Court often lags behind the times. Their denial of certiorari to certain cases over the years certainly reflects, so, while we know from the video that the Court receives thousands of petitions for a writ of certiorari throughout the year, it is still hard to fully believe that the Court isn’t really saying anything when they deny certain petitions. Overall, I enjoyed the video and liked hearing about how the justices actually interacted with each other. It was particularly interesting to hear Justice Thomas say that his views don’t often change after conference with the rest of the justices.

  49. This film was a great watch for the transparency it brings regarding the Supreme Court and their operations. While we often hear about Supreme Court decisions in the news, we rarely see the work that goes into being a justice and the consideration that goes into each decision they make. Additionally, it was fascinating to see the justices slightly more humanized since we perceive them to be these larger-than-life individuals who wield power and make big decisions. Although the Court’s decisions can be frustrating at times, it’s reassuring to see the time, effort, and thought that it takes for the Court to function as a unit despite their differences.

  50. I really enjoyed this documentary. There was a lot of information about how a case in the SCOTUS proceeds, the mentality of the SCOTUS Justices, the responsibility and effects of this institution along with a plethora of other things. I believe that the importance of this position comes without dispute this leads me to believe that the assignment of these Justices along with their terms of their service should be looked over. Perhaps even setting a limit to the number of Justices one president can nominate and have assigned to the SCOTUS. It is difficult to speak for a large and diverse body of people with opposing political views and priories. The film brought up that the Justices have no pressure from the public to act in any certain kind of way however, we know that in practice this is not often the case. Without a doubt this film depicted the hard work significance comes with a SCOTUS Justice role in the United States country.

  51. I really like when Stephen Breyer said “the inside story of a court is there is no inside story… it’s people simply thinking”. While part of me thinks that a statement like this reduces the Supreme Court to a government defined think tank, it’s true at least to the extent that all the thoughts and arguments of Justices are published after the decision of the Court is made for the public to read and review, and understand the thought process that went into making said decision. On the other hand, while legislation from Congress is available for reading and review by the public, it’s hard to obtain the actual thoughts and ideas that went into the crafting of legislation over the time it takes to write.

    The most interesting part of this documentary to me is seeing the justices open to discussion about their jobs and the process that it takes, which probably isn’t that interesting considering I don’t go out of my way to watch many documentaries (let alone about the Supreme Court), I usually would think that justices are against public interviews and exposure of the sort as it may ruin the political insulation that their branch takes pride in (as to how it would ruin their insulation, I’m not sure at the moment. Ask me some other time, maybe.)

  52. Learning about how the Supreme Court works is interesting because I did not know much about it before watching the video. It was informative and I learned about what is the role of the Supreme Court. It was interesting to see how the Supreme Court Justices interpret the US Constitution and how it still applies in modern time even if it was written many years ago.

  53. I really enjoyed watching this video, and I thought it was very informative of how the Supreme Court works. There is a lot of time, effort, and energy that goes into being a Supreme Court Justice, as well as a clerk that works for them. They have a very important job of interpreting the Constitution, but each Justice has their own way of interpretation. Even though they are supposed to rule based on the Constitution, they all have different views as to how things should go. This is a great video to show law students, or others who are just interested in the topic, to help them understand the basics of the Supreme Court.

  54. I’ll admit that I did not know much about the Supreme Court (or any other level of court for that matter) before I took classes on constitutional law. Considering how much influence and power the courts have in respect to the laws that we adhere to, I feel like everything in the video should be common knowledge. Also, while we are familiar with the Supreme Court building, the statues, the actual courtroom, and the nine justices, it’s also nice to get the behind-the-scenes look at the clerical side of things that make it all possible.

  55. I found this film very interesting not only I learned more about the supreme court but I also learned of their history flaws and success, How this is the only branch of government that has to interpret a 200 year old constitution and making sure that laws and actions is constitutional or not. somethings I found interesting how the decision of dread Scott that a black person was less of a white person is a wound that the supreme court has to deal with for the coming future because is what lead to the civil war, another thing I learned that the supreme court tend to follow population opinion on a certain issue and they try to stay neutral as possible. Also very interesting how the supreme court only do 100 cases a year out of the thousands they received from the lower courts.

  56. This C-SPAN video insightful because it gives us a clear look into the lives and jobs of the Supreme Court justices. It shows us how exactly they are give cases and how things aren’t exactly as they seem. It’s interesting to me how the Supreme Court actually works, especially judicial review. The idea is to make sure things are constitutional, but the Constitution itself is was written over 200 years ago. They have to interpret the language of the Constitution and apply it to modern-day cases and issues.

  57. This film about the Supreme Court’s day to day operations is very informative since it gives us an inside look within the justice’s daily procedures. I never understood how cases are brought to the justices as well as the exact method. It was interesting to see how one of justices said that they may not agree on everything, however, one thing that they agree on is interpreting the law in their own way. The most interesting part of the film is when they mention how each writ of certiorari is viewed the same for each case because I used to that there is a sense of urgency for some cases. In addition, the court understands how much power their voice holds over public opinion, therefore, they try to be vague in some decisions.

  58. I found this film to be ver interesting and informative, the Supreme Court has been intertwined with many major events within US history, but rarely the citizens live under the consitution which created the Supreme Court, have an understanding of what truly happens day to day. The Supreme Court to me personally has always had an air above that makes it seem more unknown comparatively to the legislative body, and the executive branch so seeing this film personally gave me a lot of insight. I enjoyed the quote that said that they are called to draw boundaries of government power. The part where there was work in the public versus in the private was also very inresting.

  59. This film provided great insight into the day to day procedures of the supreme court justices. It was interesting to learn how the justices interact with each other during the times of agreement and disagreement. There seemed to be a general consensus of respecting each other first as normal individuals and then respecting the justice’s opinion of a case. Furthermore, the film provided additional details on how the opinion of the court is written. I was previously unaware of how long it took for a justice to draft an opinion and assumed it took a week at most. Though, it was shown that it could take up to several months for the final opinion to be released to the public as the justice who writes the opinion takes time to accurately summarize the reasoning of the majority decision.

  60. I found this film to be very interesting and informative and it helped me to understand the supreme court and how it works and how the justices operate. This was important to me because I had no idea of their operations to this extent and one day I plan to be apart of. As we do know, legitimacy is based on the constitution. The supreme court has to be impartial and must uphold the rule of law even though the constitution is very old. It still stands and it is the supreme courts job to make sure that it is still being held to the same standard. The justices are influenced by the law. The most divisive issue in the American history was Dredd Scott, slave who tried to win his freedom in the courts. I think that it took so much courage to stand before the highest courts and fight for your freedom. The court ruled that congress has no power to abolish slavery and the justice stated that blacks were never going to be citizens and it was expected to stay in such a way. As we know, the civil war was the beginning of the abolishment of slavery. I found it interesting but not surprising that the 14th amendment takes its place right next to the bill of right. The 14th amendment being that all persons born in the United States are citizens, including former enslaved people, and have equal protection of the law. There is no surprise there because this is the necessary. The 14th amendment prohibits the states from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Supreme Court hears cases in public. Attorneys must give their oral argument with a great opening and closing statement, trying their best to answer all the questions that might arise from the justices. There can be up to 9 justices which i think would make it more difficult as an attorney to try to win over them all in favor to their argument rather than the other side. I found it very relatable that in the film, it was said that you have 3 arguments. 1. the one that you planned to give, 2. the one you actually gave, and 3 being the one you should’ve given.

  61. This documentary was an interesting and engaging insight into the functions of the Supreme Court. I feel that citizens don’t consider what exactly happens within the court; we simply view it through the decisions and reviews that come out of it and make the news. Watching the justices talk about their lives within the court was a somewhat strange experience, but I found myself drawn to listening about the decisions they have to make and their processes behind them. I learned quite a bit from the questions that were called in. I think this kind of interactive documentary is a great idea and should happen again.

  62. I’ve always read about how the justices get along fairly well despite potentially having different views or ideologies but it was nice seeing the dynamic between them on camera. I thought it was especially funny hearing RBG mention how she refrained from having lunch prior to her first oral argument in front of the Supreme Court because she was afraid of not being able to keep it down. I can’t imagine the immense pressure and nerves lawyers must feel while presenting to the Court, not to mention having to answer the various questions posed by the justices.

    I believe this film was very interesting and informative as well. It was interesting how the film highlighted the justices and job descriptions a lawyer might have when working for the Court and what the environment is like working within the Supreme Court. It interest me how some of these lawyers (i.e. RBG), would admit to feeling nervous before practicing law or an argument in presence of the Supreme Court. I found it interesting since I myself wish to practice law one day, and seeing these idols themselves finding themselves in a state of worry, reassures me that it is okay to be nervous, especially with these job offers. Presenting to the court requires not only a lot of responsibility, but as well as a lot of knowledge and professionalism. When in a Court, not only is your focus the Supreme Court, but your focus must also pay attention to all participants including the justices, who may only be there to bombard with the questions many might not be willing to ask.

  63. I thought this film was very informative. I really enjoyed hearing about the inner workings of the Court on behalf of the justices and the point of views from lawyers on what it’s like presenting before the Supreme Court. I’ve always read about how the justices get along fairly well despite potentially having different views or ideologies but it was nice seeing the dynamic between them on camera. I thought it was especially funny hearing RBG mention how she refrained from having lunch prior to her first oral argument in front of the Supreme Court because she was afraid of not being able to keep it down. I can’t imagine the immense pressure and nerves lawyers must feel while presenting to the Court, not to mention having to answer the various questions posed by the justices.

  64. This was an insightful film and though it mentioned some of the things we know based on lectures, it’s really cool to see it happening. One of them was preparing of the writ of certiorari so they can be sent to the office’s of the justices. We hear that the Court gets a large number every term, but to see a room filled with them, stacked on one another, I begin to grasp that these justices (and clerks) read a lot. Another thing that struck me was when A.E Dick Howard was talking to the justices about oral arguments and Justice Stevens brought up that oral arguments is a chance to bring up their own points not to convince the other justices, but so they are simply aware of it. Justice Kennedy goes on to say that it isn’t a dialogue between justices and attorneys, but instead it is a conversation between the justices with the attorneys as the buffer. I had never thought of oral arguments that way, so it’s really interesting to hear how the justices view it as.

  65. I thought is was pretty interesting to see what inner works were, but one part that stood out to me was when Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the first thing they do is shake hands. The reasoning she gave for this was that maybe they wouldn’t hold grudges against each other when they disagree. I found this as a bit humorist because I don’t think a handshake has that type of effect on people. Hear how the briefs are delivered was also interesting, because before it could have been one person speaking multiple times before most of them even spoke once. This change makes it more efficient but will also allow a more free flowing discussion.

  66. In the film we are exposed to many aspects of the supreme court and the daily lives of supreme court justices. I found it interesting at the start of the film when we find out that it takes a minimum of three years for a justice to get comfortable on the bench. As the narrator states once confirmed justices are allowed to decide cases as they perceive the constitution. We also see how much work that they put in that is rarely discussed. We see that there are hours of research and learning about the different cases they will look at. This movie also provided a great example of how the supreme court serves as its own branch of government that is responsible for checks and balances on both the legislative and judicial branch.

  67. Just reposting because it seems my 9/2 post was accidentally deleted.

    I knew that all the justices put in long hours and a ton of work in their research before making their decisions, however this video really emphasized the magnitude of the workload involved. They understand that each opinion they make needs to stand for itself, there is no further opportunity to defend their decision. This branch of government displays more integrity than the other two. These are very intelligent individuals. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that regular people can tour the court or sit in on an oral argument. Lastly, I found it interesting that Mr. Dred Scott was brave enough to claim his freedom under an act of congress years before the civil war. As we all know, he was unsuccessful at obtaining his freedom, nonetheless he was still courageous enough to try.

  68. I really enjoyed this film! One of the men who called in put it perfectly, he said, “you’ve made a group of statues come to life.” It really was a joy to see them speak, especially Ginsberg. The responsibility that comes along with being Supreme Court Justice is astounding and I could only imagine how heavy that would be. As was mentioned in the film, there is no opportunity for a Justice to change their minds or make edits on an opinion that is published, and in a very real sense it’s those opinions that set the tone for the future of how our country operates. I especially appreciated when the film makers discussed the experience of being a lawyer discussing the details of a case with the Justices. The intensity and power of it. It sounds absolutely magical.

  69. This film provided an intriguing look inside the Supreme Court’s operations. This film was remarkably useful in conveying the Supreme Court’s duties and responsibilities. Unfortunately, many people are oblivious to the structure/ process of the supreme court based on the ideology of the court being wearisome. Even while most people try to keep up with more dominant cases, little is known about what is done covertly with the cases. Apart from a behind-the-scene viewpoint, there is an outlook to each judge’s values and principles, highlighting that the Supreme Court justices are not too different from the general public. As a result, this film provides a thorough overview of what occurs at the Supreme Court.

  70. This was an engrossing and extremely informative film. One of my favorite aspects was being able to take a behind-the-scenes look at how the justices felt about being appointed, hearing their first cases, and learning more about their values. They are people just like us, but oftentimes the SCOTUS is looked at as a mysterious entity, as they do not receive a ton of publicity. Moreover, we learned how even though their opinions may differ significantly, they uphold the same values amongst one another. Although politics have been seeming to come in the way of principal these past few years, I hope that the S.C. can continue to uphold their values and obligations to the American people. Witnessing the Court’s decision last Wednesday (9/1), refusing to block a Texas law prohibiting most abortions, makes me very uneasy and I can’t help but wonder if the justices are actually “above” politics as they say that they are. Justice Sotomayor said it best in her dissenting opinion, “The court has rewarded the state’s effort to delay federal review of a plainly unconstitutional statute, enacted in disregard of the court’s precedents, through procedural entanglements of the state’s own creation.” Regardless, I really enjoyed the film, its always a great way to start off the semester.

  71. This movie was very insightful into the workings of the Supreme Court. Many people in the US do not understand or care to know the power and structure the insitution of the Supreme Court of the US has. This movie was helpful in relaying the message of the Supreme Court and its duties and responsibilities and is definitely a must watch for all people.

  72. This film helps give visitors of the Supreme Court an idea of what to expect. To me, it is weird that as citizens, we don’t know exactly how the Supreme Court functions even though the decisions that come out of it affect us all. This video is important because knowing what it is like for the nine justices to work as a group, for example, is essential because at the end of the day, they’re the ones making the difficult decisions. Even though most people know the justices by name, what they actually do “behind-the-scenes” is not discussed as much. Therefore, this video gives a comprehensive understanding of what goes on in the Supreme Court.

  73. Jacqueline Lopez
    7:26 PM Today
    I knew that all the justices put in long hours and a ton of work in their research before making their decisions, however this video really emphasized the magnitude of the workload involved. They understand that each opinion they make needs to stand for itself, there is no further opportunity to defend their decision. This branch of government displays more integrity than the other two. These are very intelligent individuals. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that regular people can tour the court or sit in on an oral argument. Lastly, I found it interesting that Mr. Dred Scott was brave enough to claim his freedom under an act of congress years before the civil war. As we all know, he was unsuccessful at obtaining his freedom, nonetheless he was still courageous enough to try.
    Reply
    Alex Nguyen
    Alex Nguyen
    12:58 PM May 17
    I find this film very informative for learning about both the history of the supreme court justices and their responsibilities. I believe the format of having Dick Howard interview/discuss but also having other source (the film with the justices) was very helpful because it made the content easier to digest. I would love to see an updated version of this film that address current issues the supreme court faces
    Reply
    Maeve Riordan
    Maeve Riordan
    10:26 AM May 17
    I found it very interesting to explore the real life of those within the supreme court. I had no idea of the intricate and lengthy process of becoming a supreme court justice as well as the heavy workload as well as the long hours required. I appreciated that they shake hands before each conference as well as respected how they openly disagree on matters but maintain the collective belief that they all have the same goal at the end of the day which is whatever is best for everyone.
    Reply
    Sebastian Moscoso
    Sebastian Moscoso
    9:31 AM May 17
    When I watched this film I was surprised at the fact that many supreme court justices are nervous when they first take the bench. It shows that even supreme court justices are like regular human beings when they first start a new job. I found the rule of three interesting because I didn’t know it took about three years for them to get used to being a supreme court justice. When we look at the bench we see these people as a fundamental part of our nations interpretation of the constitution, given this I find it interesting how many cases they take and the amount of work they have. Another thing I found interesting is that every petition of certiorari is taken seriously. Each petition is analyzed accordingly and a decision is made whether to take the case or not. When it comes to getting a decision I found it interesting how lawyers need to present there case to not only one judge but 9.
    Reply
    Amy Siddiqui
    Amy Siddiqui
    9:00 AM May 17
    I really enjoyed watching this film and thought that it was very informative. One often hears about the Supreme Court, but they never actually see the insides of it and how it operates. I do wish I could see this sort of film about how the SC operated throughout the decades and how it has changed. Although I am sure that much of the basics of how the Court works is still the same today, I think that the impact of technology overall has changed the way the Court has worked over the many years it has existed. I’m sure that typewriters, telephones, smartphones, television, cameras, and the internet have shaped much of how the justices and their assistants operate the Court.
    Reply
    Cassidy McLernon
    Cassidy McLernon
    10:23 PM May 16
    I thought this video was very informative, and it taught me a lot about the inner workings of the Supreme Court. The Justices and their clerks put in a lot of time and effort for each case the Court decides to take. I really liked that the law professor, Dick Howard, was interviewing the Justices to get their perspective on what their life is like on the Court. They talked about how they can interpret the Constitution in different ways, what a lawyer does to prepare themselves for arguing in front of the Justices, and how they begin each conference. I found it interesting that the Justices start out each conference by shaking hands, as pointed out by Justice O’Connor. I think this is a great film to show law students, or others who are just interested in the topic, to help them understand the basics of the Supreme Court.
    Reply
    Jacqueline Lopez
    Jacqueline Lopez
    9:38 PM May 16
    I knew that all the justices put in long hours and a ton of work in their research before making their decisions, however this video really emphasized the magnitude of the workload involved. They understand that each opinion they make needs to stand for itself, there is no further opportunity to defend their decision. This branch of government displays more integrity than the other two. These are very intelligent individuals. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that regular people can tour the court or sit in on an oral argument. Lastly, I found it interesting that Mr. Dred Scott was brave enough to claim his freedom under an act of congress years before the civil war. As we all know, he was unsuccessful at obtaining his freedom, nonetheless he was still courageous enough to try.
    Reply
    Yesenia Licona
    Yesenia Licona
    7:37 PM May 16
    I really liked this unique documentary, it takes us through the inside of the supreme court. Many American lives are affected by the decision of the supreme court however, not many Americans have had the opportunity to take a glimpse of what the Supreme Court does and what it looks like to be in it. It’s interesting to see how much work the Supreme Court does and how many cases they handle. This documentary thoroughly explains how each justice has to work together to uphold the Constitution besides their differences of opinion.
    RIP Justice Guinsburg
    Reply
    Alexis Roberts
    Alexis Roberts
    Sep 14, 2020
    I really liked the way the documentary brought you into the court and gave you a realistic idea of what it’s really like to work in the Supreme Court. I’ve always been interested in court cases and how everything is handled in terms of the court and the idea I had about how everything was ran in the Supreme Court was completely different than what I had imagined. The idea that it takes so long for people to actually become comfortable working there and actually starting to get things done could take years really surprised me. I enjoyed the documentary a lot and think it gave me a better idea of how things are ran in the Supreme Court.
    Reply
    Nicole Solayman
    Nicole Solayman
    Sep 13, 2020
    The film was an interesting view into the Supreme Court justices roles and their decision making. Besides being an informative source regarding the history of the Supreme Court, it shows the audience how it functions as well. The characterization of the Supreme Court has always been interesting, and often time is described as (although an entity of the government) detached from the government writ large. The film shows the audience how meticulous and time consuming being a justice is. Just like any other branch of government, the justices need to communicate and work together to decide on cases. Although they’re nine individual people, they have to work as an entity.
    Reply
    Nadeen Elsayed
    Nadeen Elsayed
    Sep 13, 2020
    This film is great and is filled with so much information. I noticed how much I missed the first time around when I watched this for the last class. For instance, I had not really processed that the court also struggles deciding which issues to focus on in the same way that the senate does. This caused me to think about how the branches of government are often more alike than I initially expected, since they all had different duties and roles at the end of the day. In addition to that, I also found the conversation about media really interesting. For instance, if the supreme court does not grant a writ of cert, the media will spin it as “they are upholding the ruling” when in reality that’s not exactly the case.
    Reply
    Paola Perez Paredes
    Paola Perez Paredes
    Sep 13, 2020
    This film contained so much historical information about our government. It is a great source to watch because it not only provides facts about our government but also has direct quotes from leaders that work for our government that can help us understand each piece of our democracy better.
    When Justice Stephen Breyer explained the role of a Supreme Court Justice he said, “Once confirmed all of us are primarily responsible to the law, to this institution, to your own conscious, and the public no longer has a direct ability to influence a decision through the ballot box…” Although this may be true and legally right , I do not agree nor feel safe that we, the public, cannot influence them into decisions that affect us. How can we get them to hear and see what the public needs and wants? Do they really pay no mind to the public’s voice?
    Reply
    Bukola Abdulwahab-Omotose
    Bukola Abdulwahab-Omotose
    Sep 12, 2020
    Sorry that the response is coming so late. The first thing I found interesting was the court order that said congress had no power to ban slavery and that blacks can never be citizens, although that decision affected the for years, it is interesting to note how there could be a law but at the same time be wrong. As there are numerous justices, they of course share different views and ideology, they have great mutual respect for each other. The movie was able to show in-depth what the supreme court was about and how it truly functioned and not just what we thought about them. I didn’t know what an opinion was and after this I am able to understand the importance and the independence each justices have to either write their own opinions or give a different explanation as to how the case was settled.
    Reply
    Levi Harrison
    Levi Harrison
    Sep 12, 2020
    Also, at 36:48 in the video, they talk about the court reversing decisions and Chief Justice Marshall saying the Constitution is what the court says it is. If the courts will grant Judicial Review to the Executive Branch like Professor Lyles says then does that means the President can change the Constitution whenever they want?
    Reply
    Levi Harrison
    Levi Harrison

    I misunderstood what the Professor was saying. The SC has the power of judicial review over Congress (laws) and the actions of the president (executive action).
    Sep 13, 2020

    Delete
    Kevin Lyles
    Levi Harrison
    Levi Harrison
    Sep 12, 2020
    In the beginning of the film, Why did Paul ask Dick what the cost of the film was when he already had the notes telling him it was $260,000?
    Reply
    Salma Villarreal
    Salma Villarreal

    I thought that was a very strange question as well. Like what was he trying to get at with the cost?
    Sep 13, 2020

    Delete
    Levi Harrison
    Levi Harrison

    Oh you caught that too? I thought he was messing with him because the film looked like it did not cost $260,000. Honestly, no special effects, animations, just the use of cameras and a few slides. I mean the movie Napolean Dynamite had a budget of $400,000 and it was 2 hours long. This was only 25 minutes.
    Sep 13, 2020

    Delete
    Kevin Lyles
    Salma Villarreal
    Salma Villarreal
    Sep 12, 2020
    I’m so sorry I forgot to post my comment yesterday. I found it interesting how Justice O’Conner mentioned how before every meeting each justice shakes the other’s hand before sitting down and discussing a case. I also found it interesting to learn how long it takes for a justice to get used to being in the supreme court of the united states. For some, the three-year rule holds true but for others, it may take up to five years for it to really set in. I liked how Justice Ginsburg mentions how the meaning of the constitution has changed over time. She points out that they are simply not interpreting the original constitution created in 1787. Many amendments have been passed that have expanded protections to African Americans that had at one point been enslaved, and the right to vote for women. In the end, they acknowledge that the constitution is what the supreme court makes of it in their written opinions.
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    Lizzie Sutton
    Lizzie Sutton
    Sep 12, 2020
    Justice Breyer’s comment about how “the power of the Court is the power of trust earned” with the American people is striking. It’s remarkable how this institution has functioned and operated on good faith for as long as it has. At the same time, relying on nine people to operate entirely in good faith to defend the Constitution is unnerving, particularly as we’ve begun to see the boundaries held in place by good faith being tested in the Executive and Legislative branches. It’s a disconcerting thought, but if enough judges over time were appointed who were guided and motivated by extreme partisanship rather than the integrity of the Constitution, the document’s importance would be diminished greatly and the institution and legitimacy of the Court would deteriorate as well. Having seen the events of the past several years unfold, and how easily disregarded institutional norms are by bad-faith actors, it’s sobering to think that we could see a Court such as that in our lifetimes.
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    Martha Madera
    Martha Madera
    Sep 12, 2020
    Ruth Ginsberg’s comment on the constitution and how it has changed over time to protect minorities such as African Americans, women, and Native Americans who where not explicitly mentioned was very moving. It shows that although the constitution is the document on the land its interpretation has changed and will continue to change with time.
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    Mara Ortiz
    Mara Ortiz
    Sep 11, 2020
    I thought the film did a fantastic job showing the scope of what the SCOTUS covers and showing the inner workings of how the court functions and its origins. But, the film really shows only a positive view of what the court does and, understandably, shows no critique of the court or show the mistakes or controversial decisions that go on in modern times. This makes sense for a visitor film, but some perspective and realism of how the court currently works would have been nice instead of romanticizing a flawed institution. If the court is supposed to be critical, I would like some more critique. It would feel more honest and fair. Also, I thought the quote, “We do our own work,” was hilarious. No, you don’t. With that many petitions? Please, I went on a few dates with a SC clerk and he can attest to the fact that no, the justices do not do all their own work. Why else do you think they’re hired? I also thought it was funny how they seem so civil in the film when now the SCOTUS look was more like a war zone. It is a remarkable institution, but its flawed, and it’s still insane to me that these nine un-elected people hear so few cases yet they make such enormous changes to the country.
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    Michelle Rodriguez
    Michelle Rodriguez
    Sep 11, 2020
    This film seemed fascinating to me to see how the supreme court from works on the inside.The fact that the film portrays the justices as individuals who understand the importance of their role and try to maintain complete civility and humility, is inspiring to me. I found it interesting how although they may have differences in ideas and morals, they all trust that thy’re all trying to do the best in their job and also keep civility with each other. I also learned that they try to maintain order in their meetings. one of the things they do to maintain a balance and order is to let every justice speak once before anyone else speaks twice.
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    Ashanti Simpkins
    Ashanti Simpkins
    Sep 11, 2020
    This was an interesting film that gave a unique view of the US Supreme Court. I really enjoyed the interviews with the Supreme Court Justices. it would be interesting to see an updated version of this documentary. An interesting moment in the movie was when they mentioned that the Justices don’t really decide what issues to focus on. This was interesting because Justice Thomas also mentions how the media may falsely report that a case ruling is being upheld because the Justices don’t review it. Couldn’t the Justices use reviewing/not reviewing certain rulings as a way to shed light/not shed light on the issues that they want to focus on/not focus on?
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    Valeria Pedraza Avalos
    Valeria Pedraza Avalos
    Sep 11, 2020
    I really liked how the film outlined how the Supreme Court justices go about each case presented before them especially during the conference and the oral argument that then leads to their final decisions. I also enjoyed how the film was able to get a formal interview with justices and have them explain their opinions on how they go about the decision making process because most of what the SC justices do on a day to day is done in private and not very open to the public. It was also good to hear that for the most part there is intense argument that takes place between the justices on the court. leading to a thoroughly formulated decision.
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    Maleeha Rasheed
    Maleeha Rasheed
    Sep 11, 2020
    I really enjoyed how this video showcased a lot of the thought proccesses that justices have as they decide cases, as they are some of the greatest legal minds alive. The documentary also highlighted the importance of legal precedant and the impact the Supreme Court has on constituional law – once interpreted, con law requires a change in the state of the nation to reverse and/or change/manipulate. Thus, it showed the utmost importance of having justices who concur with the ideology of the time to the extent that they are just, and are able to rise above the public pressure of unjust rulings if they know something must be removed. This documentary truly showed how important their jobs are on everyday americans.
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    Matt Springer
    Matt Springer
    Sep 11, 2020
    The documentary gave an overview of the Supreme Court and informs us about the justices themselves. The documentary has scenes in which the Justices are discussing how they have similar objectives and respect each other. This was easily the best part of the film. These are people who we never really hear speak, but, at the same time, these are also people that wield tremendous power. This gets even more baffling when most Americans can’t name most of them. On top of this, the filmmakers disprove false ideas and inform visitors of how the court really works. Since the film mentions that only about 100 cases a year are heard by the SCOTUS, I became concerned. That really is not that many for the highest court in the country. They only have nine judges to hear these 100 cases. That’s insane! This film really gave me a better context of the Supreme Court and greatly enhanced my understanding of it .
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    Abigail Zurita-Calvario
    Abigail Zurita-Calvario
    Sep 11, 2020
    I really enjoyed the film as it gave us an inside look into the Supreme Court and the justices. It was interesting to hear from the justices that are no longer there, as well as see the way they portrayed their thoughts in the documentary. However, I think it’s interesting that it was mentioned a couple of times the usage of writs by prisoners, as well as how the justice system is there to treat all citizens equally. I couldn’t help but not believe that for a second, given the current situation in America. I wonder if this was rehearsed because it seemed that the justices were just repeating the Supreme Court’s “mission.” However, I did appreciate the fact that judge John Paul Stevens stated that the justices disagree on a variety of issues but at the end of the day, they all share the same objective. Nonetheless, I enjoyed hearing from the justices themselves as that rarely happens. It was especially interesting because as the film says, they are not robots, they are people like us.
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    Leya Ismail
    Leya Ismail
    Sep 11, 2020
    The film does a good job of condensing what the judicial branch in our government does, as well as specifying what the jobs and functions of the supreme court justices are. I found the footage of the justices themselves speaking to be insightful, because they each had their own commentary and perspectives on how the job is done. Their testimony made me realize that without any question or restriction, their decisions are the purely derived of their own beliefs, in the cases that are presented to them. This is concerning because their beliefs may not be representative of the larger population or society as a whole, and although they are supposed to be bipartisan in theory, reality does not corroborate this. Ultimately the film brought attention to just how much power the supreme court has, and highlighted for me a concern, that citizens do not have a direct say in who is chosen to be a judge in the most powerful court in the country.
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    Sebastian Lech
    Sebastian Lech
    Sep 11, 2020
    I found this film very informative about the inner workings and processes of the Supreme Court. It showed the justices as independent beings working together to come to an understanding of the law instead of just a whole entity. I also found Justice Ginsburg’s comments on arguing in front of the Supreme Court very interesting because she has the experience of being on both sides, and being successful many times in arguing her case. The way the justices responded to media interpretation of whether they will hear a case or not was very interesting because we do not usually hear the opinions of the justices outside of the courtroom. I also like how Justice Thomas spoke about his opinion of a case while it is being discussed in conference. He spoke that he will rarely have a change of opinion after conference, I think that shows the Independence each justice has to state their argument, but also how concrete they are in their argument.
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    Lillie Elling
    Lillie Elling
    Sep 11, 2020
    It was interesting to watch this film as it was made over two decades ago and a few of the justices have changed over, as well as, I’m sure, their opinions. While it was very informative and I particularly enjoyed hearing what the justices themselves had to say about the job they do, I found it very stuffy and almost rehearsed. I understand that it wasn’t scripted, but it was still a film produced by the the government made for tours of the Supreme Court, meaning it isn’t going to be the most upfront or straightforward with the realities of how the court functions day to day. The film had very valuable and interesting material in it, but it seemed to be a very romanticized account of the Supreme Court even from the justices themselves but especially from all the other aspects of the film.
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    Nizar Quafisheh
    Nizar Quafisheh
    Sep 11, 2020
    This was a fairly interesting video and provided some good insight into the hefty process the justices go through when analyzing and coming to a decision on cases. Perhaps what was one of the most interesting thing was that when the judges come to a decision on a case, it takes at least four weeks to write the opinion of the case and release it, that is if the beliefs remain the same on the case and although rare, it can take several months and the minority on the case could change and become the minority. Something also interesting to me was that Professor Howard stated that the chief justice was able to select who is to write the opinion on the case out of the majority, however he did not say whether the chief justice or any other of the judges hold some sort of significant influence over the others. In my opinion, because Ruth bader Ginsburg and Justice Scalia were probably the most well known names out of the justices, is that they had a bit more influence over the others strictly due to notoriety. All in all however it was a nice video, and I enjoyed seeing the somewhat human factor of the justices, despite all the power they have at their disposal.
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    Kirsten Bermudez
    Kirsten Bermudez
    Sep 11, 2020
    Viewing the Supreme Court and its justices more concretely, rather than abstractly as another institution allows we, common people to appreciate its founding. Seeing Justices at work, and the actual building itself reminded me how spectacular it can be to pay attention to SCOTUS. Given the age of our Constitution, it makes sense that we should be wary that we are still following it. But as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated, we must remember that the people we refer to in the Constitution comprises of more than the original people in the Constitution, at the time of its finding. I think this statement can be expanded to that there will more trying times as the nation of America ages, and the definition of people can be expanded upon. At the time of its founding, the Constitution did not protect African Americans, women, or Native Americans. Now, the people in the Constitution refers to those people who were once outsiders in the Constitution. I also appreciate the fact that even though SCOTUS takes around 7000 cases a year, each petition that seeks to obtain certiorari is granted the same individual consideration. This shows the fairness of the Supreme Court. Cases ranging from prisoners to government officials are equal on the scale. This fairness, I believe, is constitutional.
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    Juan Capilla
    Juan Capilla
    Sep 11, 2020
    It was very helpful to get a view of the daily tasks and procedures of the Supreme Court Justices. The point was brought up that some people, myself included, had perceived a veil of mystery over the inside happenings of the Supreme Court, so it was helpful to see the work process (from case selection to the drafting of court opinions) and personalities/thoughts/beliefs of the Justices. Of particular importance to me seemed the conflict in philosophy between Justices Kennedy and Scalia regarding the changes in interpretation of the Constitution over time. I was curious as to how such basic differences in opinion has played out in the court case determinations. Another point which struck me due to the controversy surrounding the appointment of Justice Kavanaugh in recent years was the idea that Justices quickly assert their independence apart from the Presidents who appointed them. I wonder if any empirical studies have been done (or could be done) to find for or against this point since i’m not sure I entirely believe it. At the very least, I would assume Justices hold a strong political party allegiance, which undermines the idea that they stand somewhat aside from political matters due to their lifetime appointments.
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    Sebastian Moscoso
    Sebastian Moscoso
    Sep 11, 2020
    I found this film very interesting. To hear the stories that the justices have and their experience is very refreshing. A line I took away from this film was that judges are people too. While we see the justices on the supreme court as the most important judges they also have a heart too. When a new justice is appointed it takes time for them to establish themselves on the court. The rule of three years was interesting because according to some justices it takes three or maybe five years to fully graspo that a judge is on the supreme court. I found it interesting when they discussed petitions of certiorari. They discussed how that every petition is taken under consideration. When the court denies this petition it is not a implicit affirmation of the result. When the judges discussed about oral arguments I found it interesting how the lawyers have to be questioned by not only one judge but nine. After watching this film it is evident the difficulty the judges face.
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    Lesly Zavala
    Lesly Zavala
    Sep 11, 2020
    This whole documentary was very enlightening to me. I think the Supreme Court is amazing and seeing the inner working of it while being reminded that even the Justices are humans was very valuable. There was a quote that resonated in the documentary, someone stated that the Supreme Court has neither sword nor purse, therefore it is the least dangerous branch of government. It relies solely on the consensus of the people to do what it enforces, however when people and institutions refuse to listen, such when Brown V Board was decided, the SC relies on the other branches to enforce it’s decision. That seems problematic, because of polarization within congress, the executive branch, and the SC could cause altercations as it’s done so in the past. Also, the fact that when deciding on the Dred Scott case, due to the SC interpreting the constitution in an unjust and racist manner, they lost a lot of power! So in a way, when the SC doesn’t make fair decisions it kind of backfires on them and their power.
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    Liliana Diaz
    Liliana Diaz
    Sep 11, 2020
    I found this film to be very interesting because I thought what the judges said about everyone viewing the Supreme Court as very “secret” when the real secret is that there is no secret was very remarkable. I believe there still is this sense of secracy around the justices even though like they said everything is out there in the opinions. Additionally, I thought it was interesting to hear about all petitions the Supreme Court gets and how they go about picking them. Something that I kept thinking about while watching these is the politicization of the Supreme Court in recent years. It seems that we have slowly been moving away from upholding the Constitution and Presidents instead focus on picking judges that are aligned with their ideology and there has even been those who suggest that we should add more judges to the Court which I think would just open up a slippery slope of President’s adding seats simply so they can fill them. Overall, I think it is important to keep the Supreme Court above politics because that is what makes it so impactful.
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    Jorge Agustin
    Jorge Agustin
    Sep 11, 2020
    This film highlighted the importance of the Supreme Court that is often overlooked or downplayed.I very much enjoyed the analogy of wet cement that one justice made in the film. I thought it perfectly highlights the fact that supreme court justices leave a legacy on the country’s constitutional interpretation of the law. This further exemplifies their role as the precedence of their rulings carry over well beyond their terms and lifetimes. Despite the varying opinions of the justices, they all agree that they are trying to accomplish the same thing through different means. This helps them understand one another and respect each other’s opinions.
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    Oscar Jassiel Sanchez Cruz
    Oscar Jassiel Sanchez Cruz
    Sep 11, 2020
    Although I don’t usually enjoy this type of videos/documentaries, I found this one in particular very interesting. I think this video provides bare basic information that everybody should hear even if they’re not particularly interested in Law or politics. At the end of the day the Supreme Court influences our every day lives and we should at least try to understand the basics of it. One of the things that stood out to me the most in this video was seeing the justices talk about how even though they may have some differences they all share one goal and they do their best to achieve it. This makes me even more curious about understanding the decision process of the court and seeing how the justices handle their differences.
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    Jose Cardenas
    Jose Cardenas
    Sep 11, 2020
    The film was just not a brief introduction of the supreme court but also the behind the scenes actions we, civilians, usually dont associate with the supreme court. Some see the supreme court as one entity, and while that might be the case, the film showed me that it is more than one entity but a collection of humans trying to make the best decisions. With all humans, disagreement might occur, but as the film suggest, the disagreement that may occur, or agreement, only comes from the facts. “There are no secrets.” The film also showed how busy and time consuming being a supreme court justice is, such as researching and opinion writing, take a good portion of their time and they arent just walking in everyday and just debating a case. overall the film was entertaining and insightful!
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    Haley Fritts
    Haley Fritts
    Sep 11, 2020
    I enjoyed watching the C-SPAN video about the Supreme Court, it was very informative and I do think it is a great resource for this class in particular. I liked how they went over what opinion writing was and the process that comes with that. I found it interesting how the many opinions can be drafted in different ways and still boil down to a final revision; it also surprised me to truly think about how these opinions held by the court on a certain case need to be well-thought-out or it could greatly affect the future cases…that pressure is something I won’t ever experience. I do wish that instead of saying that “when the supreme court speaks, people at large obey” they would’ve said it becomes law basically and people have to obey. The supreme court still has made bad decision and not everything they do is agreed upon by everyone. I did very much enjoy this film though!
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    Sean Nicholas
    Sean Nicholas
    Sep 11, 2020
    Overall, I found the film to be quite interesting and informative. The most interesting part for me was hearing from the justices themselves. I always appreciate hearing perspectives that come from experience and I liked hearing how they typically deal with their roles when handling controversial or important cases. I also liked that I could get a sort of inside view of the supreme court workings. That coupled with how the justices feel created a very interesting viewing experience that kept me engaged in the film!
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    Drew Fowler
    Drew Fowler
    Sep 11, 2020
    I found this film very interesting, specifically the portion where they were spoke about the unwritten procedures of their conference. For example, they implemented a procedure where they ensure that the every justice gets to speak on a case before other justices speak again. I found this very similar, because it humanized the court for me. There were other interesting aspects of these conferences, like how they always shake each others hands before beginning because it makes it easier to disagree with that justice later when you shook hands with them.
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    Arnold Brown
    Arnold Brown
    Sep 11, 2020
    The Supreme Court Visitors Film describes some history and the inner workings of how the Supreme Court functions. I enjoyed how the audience was able to get to know the 9 justices on a more personal level. These judges are usually put on a pedestal, so it was interesting to see them discuss some personal details about their lives. We were able to see some humanity from very powerful individuals. Seeing all the Judges work and interact with each other was also interesting to see because most citizens do not get to see their inner workings. While they might disagree, they do treat each other with respect.
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    Nay Tjatur
    Nay Tjatur
    Sep 11, 2020
    I thought the film was very informative and interesting. Not only does it show an insider view of the workings of the Supreme Court, but we were also given the chance to hear from the justices about how they approach the very difficult roles they play in U.S. government. One of the things that struck me the most was when one of the justices differentiated the court from the legislative and executive branches by stating that “a court has no secrets because it’s all out there in the opinion. The inside story is that there is no inside story.” I thought this was really interesting as I realized the court is the most transparent branch of government.
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    Anshu Nidamanuri
    Anshu Nidamanuri
    Sep 11, 2020
    This Supreme Court visitors film is very entertaining and basically goes over the inside workings of the supreme court. I liked to see the contrast in all the judges and how they seemed to realize their equal footing and no judge was being overbearing. I also like how they explain the history of how the supreme court got its power. This was a great film to learn more about the supreme court and its justices.
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    Ben Lee
    Ben Lee
    Sep 11, 2020
    I enjoyed the information on oral arguments and it’s importance to many justices. I loved the look into the mind. For instance justice Thomas detailed his thought process as trying to reach a great understanding about the case before it’s presented and coming to his own specific conclusion.
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    Ines Josefina Castaneda
    Ines Josefina Castaneda
    Sep 11, 2020
    One of the most residenating things that was said in the film was how a lot of the times when a case is wit of certiorari is denied that media often misinterpreted as the supreme court is upholding the ruling when they did not really do anything. Also a point the RBG made about how they are not working with the same constitution is something to be considered more depth. The constitution does not change easily but legislature dose and a legal question is at times asked like with DACA and these things single a very special characteristic. Even though the Justices are supposed to leave the political side and focus on the legal there is still some political influence since it is the president is the one who nominates and senate confirms. This is why it always matter whos on the bench and concierding today environment it is more impacting whos on the bench.
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    Jaime Reyes
    Jaime Reyes
    Sep 11, 2020
    This film approaches the inside workings of the Supreme Court and how the judges viewed their positions as some of the most powerful people in the federal government. It also showed the judges on a more personal level.
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    Leilani Rivera
    Leilani Rivera
    Sep 11, 2020
    This film was used so that the viewers (us) are able to see what the chief justices are like first hand, and to understand them more personally. It was also used to demonstrate how the supreme court works collectively and individually.
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    Emma Whaley
    Emma Whaley
    Sep 11, 2020
    I think this film was very informative of not only the inside workings of the Supreme Court (writs of certiorari, conferences, oral arguments, opinion writing) but also the informal aspects of the court (learning about the justices, how they felt coming into the court for the first time, their experiences arguing before the court, etc.). For example, I really enjoyed the part of the film where the justices discussed different aspects of the court, like how Justice O’Connor said how remarkable it is that every petition, no matter how small, gets the same consideration, or how they all agreed on how nerve-racking it was to all of a sudden be sitting and participating in solving these difficult issues. When the justices got questioned about the popular thought that their denial of certiorari having a sort of precedential value, I thought of our discussion in lecture and how it could be viewed that their denial of taking a certain case could be seen as them viewing it as constitutional and/or okay. I thought it was very interesting how they said that the unspoken contract between the supreme court’s decision and the public’s obedience to their decision is one of the hidden keys to our country’s freedom because at least in my twenty years of life, I can’t think of a time where the executive branch or the public, as a whole, disregarded the court’s opinion. However, when questioned in the last part of the video about the executive branch’s refusal of the court’s decision to allow desegregation in the 1950s, I feel like the commentator didn’t really have an answer and just blamed it on a historical time of crisis. I also thought it was interesting how they pointed out that there isn’t really a mystique about the court and how their opinions and reasoning are all open to the public, and once they serve their decision, there is no going back and no opportunity for a press conference like a president would have to defend or speak on it any further, therefore they put a lot of time, thought, and insight into each decision.
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    Zain Hussain
    Zain Hussain
    Sep 10, 2020
    This film is amazing at portraying what goes in the Supreme Court to the public. One part I found interesting was when they talked about the 1 hour of “drama” in the courtroom and how there one person vs 9 judges. Also the way they described how they focus on one national issue when it comes to a case is important in terms of how to proceed with it.
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    Cheyenne Henry
    Cheyenne Henry
    Sep 10, 2020
    After rewatching this video, I went to search for my initial reaction. While I still found the perspectives of the justices interesting, there was one quote I decided to highlight that I also made note of before. This is when Justice Ginsburg makes the point that, “We the people…” was composed of a very small portion of the people”, and for that reason, alterations that have been made to the constitution over time are very important when making decisions about a case. As I stated before, the same question that I find myself asking at least once a semester resurfaced: Should the constitution be re-written or altered every so often? If so, by who? This is a conversation I would very much like to hear and be a part of, but I’m not even sure who the conversation would be open to… This is a point I connected to one of the classes I am currently taking with Professor McKenzie. In the discussion thread this week we are asked how the courts can assist in creating an equal society and I think this might be a way. It can help to create more transparency between the courts and the public in order to hold the justices accountable to being fair and just.
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    Rama Izar
    Rama Izar
    Sep 10, 2020
    This film is what is shown to people who are visiting the Supreme Court. It is meant to give them an idea of what to expect. In the video, there were several shots of various parts of the Supreme Court. The process of transferring appeals was also outlined. The 9 justices were interviewed in different groups. They were asked several questions like how oral arguments function and what it is like to work as a group. I thought it was interesting to see the behind-the-scenes of the Supreme Court experience. There is so much work that is done on the judges’ end. The main thing that was obviously not discussed (but is very important in my opinion) is how political the nominations are. Last year, in POLS 358, I learned a lot about how certain justices were nominated for very particular reasons and how this still happens today (even more than before). Ultimately, I thought it was an informative video that may have left out some “controversial” details such as the politicization of the nominations.
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    Jyah Vora
    Jyah Vora
    Sep 10, 2020
    First off, I really enjoyed watching this film. It was fascinating getting to know the justices more personally. The justices seem very friendly and respectful towards each other, no one justice seemed overbearing or dominated the conversation. I also found Ginsburg’s backstory fascinating — how she was nervous to stand before the court but then quickly became comfortable and confident.
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    Haneen Abdelhafez
    Haneen Abdelhafez
    Sep 10, 2020
    This was an engrossing and extremely informative film. I was always fascinated by the Supreme Court and how it operates, so this was great to watch and learn more about. I find it interesting that the justices work on their own, but together at the same time. Although their opinions may differ significantly, they uphold the same values amongst one another. The justices do not actively go out and seek problems they can resolve, but rather wait for people to come with their problems / written cases. I had a few misconceptions prior to watching the film, including the oral argument process. It is essentially a conversation the court has with itself, rather than a dialogue between the justices and attorney’s as I thought. Although politics have been seeming to come in the way of principal these past few years, I hope that the S.C. can continue to uphold their values and obligations to the American people.
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    Sylvia Waz
    Sylvia Waz
    Sep 10, 2020
    The video is supposed to provide more information about the Supreme Court and educate the public about how it works. It helps the public view the court as less secretive and it explains the history of how the court gained authority. I found it interesting that Scalia said that the constitution does not mean anything different from what it originally meant because the decisions that the supreme court makes changes interpretations of the amendments.
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    Henry Jiang
    Henry Jiang
    Sep 10, 2020
    Basically, the film gives us an overview of the Supreme Court, discussed briefly of several important cases, and what visitors can see. It was interesting to see a more in depth of the functions of the Court, and in addition, actually see the room in which the 9 justices would sit down and vote for each case. Another surprising and interesting thing I learned from the documentary is that when one of the justices write a majority opinion, the first draft is typically finished in about 4 weeks and may continue to revise and redraft for months
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    Justin Labonte
    Justin Labonte
    Sep 10, 2020
    Despite the video having been made in my lifetime, it seems like so much has changed regarding the public’s perception of the Supreme Court since 1998. The justices in the video, many of them still serving, all seemed above partisan politics. That isn’t to say that they aren’t today, but the other two branches of government seem to have heavily politicized them. Mitch McConnell essentially stole a Supreme Court seat, and just recently Donald Trump released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees should a vacancy open up during his time in office. The list included such partisan figures as Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton, as well as Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron. When the Supreme Court is viewed through a partisan sense, I believe it limits the legitimacy its decisions often carry. Nixon appointed four justices to the Supreme Court during his time in office. During United States v. Nixon, three of them voted against his interests and the fourth abstained. As time goes on and the nation becomes more polarized, I personally think itness likely that justices will maintain such unbiased and apolitical stances.
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    Hannah Ellis
    Hannah Ellis
    Sep 9, 2020
    I find it interesting that the first thing the justices do when they enter the courtroom is shake each others’ hands. Not only is it polite, but it also symbolizes the idea that the justices must respect each other before any “real work” can happen. When the Supreme Court justices stated that hand shaking was the first thing they do, they all responded emphatically and unanimously. This tells me that the judges highly value respect, which I find refreshing to see since it seems to me that today’s political sphere is becoming increasingly polarized.
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    Jeanine Saleh
    Jeanine Saleh
    Sep 9, 2020
    The documentary was helpful for us as a class to get to know the behind the scenes of the supreme court and the justices involves. It was detailed when showcasing how they function and handle cases but I would like to know under the Trump administration is this still the same.
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    Osikenoya Usman-Aliu
    Osikenoya Usman-Aliu
    Sep 8, 2020
    The Supreme Court visitor film was interesting to watch, you get to see how the judges work and their prospective on their various role. It is very important how we can see that judges don’t have that opportunity to just answer every problem like the president and Congress. The Supreme Court only respond to constitutional questions in each case. Very informative.

  74. Leilani Rivera
    Leilani Rivera
    May 31, 2020
    This documentary was very interesting and insightful. It was able to inform the viewers on the supreme court and their justices. I think this gave us real insight of the role that a supreme court justice has, in comparison to how we actually view them.
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    Brianna Guedes
    Brianna Guedes
    May 29, 2020
    The short film was informative on how the justices operate, think, and handle cases. It went into detail about writ of certiorari and other legal devices learned in class. One part that stuck with me was when a journalist said, the court is different (from the other branches of government) because unlike the president or congress they can’t wake up and decide what issues they want to bring to light, there must be a case presented to them. That is the only way the court can decide on legal controversies.
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    April Quevedo
    April Quevedo
    May 26, 2020
    I think the documentary is (was, probably) a great film to show at the visitors center at the SC before tours. All the justices interviewed seem to understand how great their position is and the role that the SC plays in our government. I liked that the documentary explained that unlike the President and Congress, the SC and its justices cannot actively seek out issues in the nation to resolve but instead have to wait for the problem to present itself to them.
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    Matt Springer
    Matt Springer
    May 25, 2020
    The documentary gave an overview of the Supreme Court and informs us about the justices themselves. The documentary has scenes in which the Justices are discussing how they have similar objectives and respect each other. This was easily the best part of the film. These are people who we never really hear speak, but, at the same time, these are also people that wield tremendous power. This gets even more baffling when most Americans can’t name most of them. On top of this, the filmmakers disprove false ideas and inform visitors of how the court really works. Since the film mentions that only about 100 cases a year are heard by the SCOTUS, I became concerned. That really is not that many for the highest court in the country. They only have nine judges to hear these 100 cases. This film really gave me a better context of the Supreme Court and greatly enhanced my understanding of it
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    Johanna Fernandez
    Johanna Fernandez
    May 25, 2020
    The video demonstrates how high the judges view their role and understand how it impacts other people. It sets up a basic play of what goes down. Along with the judges wanting to fulfill their role as leading with the Constitution. It has been some time since the film was created, but it demonstrates the values and actions that a Supreme Court Judge has in serving that lifetime term.
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    Sarita Cavazos
    Sarita Cavazos
    May 23, 2020
    this video was interesting because the initial film the video showed and discussed seemed to have the primary mission of humanizing the Supreme Court and harmonizing the relationship between the American people and the Supreme Court, especially since the legislative and especially the president, have such a conflicted but simultaneously close relationship with its constituents. It was also interesting to see the personal dynamics between the justices and how they expressed their attitudes and expectations they hold for themselves for their position and their attitudes towards the constitution and the cases.
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    Brayden Dunstone
    Brayden Dunstone
    May 22, 2020
    The one thing that struck me the most was when Justice O’Connor disagreed with the idea that the Court was a secretive institution. Most people who study politics, law, and government tend to be familiar with the open bombastic nature of Congress or the Presidency that when we how little info we get on the inner workings we view it as secretive, however we get the most insights into the reasoning of the actions in the Court then we do in the other branches from the opinion pieces the Courts write making it a very open institution.
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    Jared Cuthbertson
    Jared Cuthbertson
    May 22, 2020
    I enjoyed this video about the supreme court however I feel that it may be a tad outdated by now. There are many concepts discussed in the video that I believe still hold importance today, such as the respect for the court, how each case gets the same consideration, and the significance of written opinions. The video stressed the importance, specifically, of how the power of the court comes from people’s faith in it; while I believe this is still the case I do fear the people’s faith in the court could change in the future. Because of Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow the senate to vote on Obama’s justice replacing Scalia and the change of the Senate rules requiring a simple majority to confirm justices, many fear that the court could become increasingly partisan. Furthermore, If Trump has the opportunity to appoint more justices, the court could become very conservative which would shake faith in the court from many liberals or democratic states. Of course these topics wouldn’t appear in a video shown in the Court building itself but they are possibilities of the future which should be considered when rules are arbitrarily ignored and changed.
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    Jamie Musso
    Jamie Musso
    May 22, 2020
    This video was very informative, but I wish more of the runtime was spent interviewing the Justices, which was the most enjoyable part of the video in my opinion. Still, the video sums up some of what we’ve learned in class in a short, condensed manner, and I think it’s definitely helped my understand of how the Supreme Court functions as a unit. Also, it was interesting to learn about some of more nuanced aspects of concepts we’ve gone over in class, such as when Justice Sandra Day O’Connor explained that the denial of a writ of certiorari does not have any precedential value.
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    Christopher Mathew
    Christopher Mathew
    May 22, 2020
    I found the video interesting in many cases. The justices held their roles in high regard, believing themselves to be in service to the public, and while they may disagree on the interpretation on the Constitution, they hold each other to be viewing the Constitution in good faith. Justice Ginsburg’s view of what “the people” has signified is rather important when viewing how different groups, specifically African-Americans and later women, gained a role in politics and citizenship. I did not know that the clerks played a significant role until recently. I am glad that, despite differences, they are able to trust each other and cooperate even when they disagree on constitutional interpretations.
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    Augustas Tamavicius
    Augustas Tamavicius
    May 22, 2020
    Really insightful video! It was interesting to hear about some of the intricacies of the Supreme Court process from the head honchos themselves. To be honest, I was surprised at how . It’s easy to read Supreme Court cases in class and picture the Justices as “faceless” beings, but at the end of the day they’re individuals, each with his or her own perspective guiding their actions and words. In particular, I liked the segment where Justice Ginsburg retorts Justice Scalia’s point about the Constitution “Always having been clear…” by stating that the Constitution is a malleable document, and can be changed to serve the needs of an ever-changing society. I wholeheartedly agree with Justice Ginsburg, but those contrasting opinions are what make the study of law and political science so fascinating to me.
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    Brianna Moling
    Brianna Moling
    May 22, 2020
    One thing that was talked about throughout this film that I found interesting was interpretation of the Constitution. The justices talked about how they personally feel about interpreting a document written more than 200 years ago, and I agree with most of what they said. Yes, the words of the Constitution can still be used today as great guidelines for deciding cases. However, I also feel as though the United States has changed immensely over the past few hundred years and that even though much of what the Constitution says can and should be applied to cases today, I think interpretation is important in the sense that the words should be applied in a way that fits our society today (which I do think happens most of the time). I also thought it was very interesting to see some of the things we have learned in class so far appear in this film, such as Marbury v. Madison and the numerous petitions that the Supreme Court receives each year.
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    Cheyenne Henry
    Cheyenne Henry
    May 22, 2020
    There were three things that stood out to me in the video:

    (1) In the beginning of the video, it is said that the supreme court’s power lies in public faith among other things. This goes back to what we discussed in class regarding the legitimacy of the court and why it tends not to revisit the same issues it has already ruled on; however, we know that there have been cases where the court has ruled on very similar issues more than once (US v. Belmont & Pink), but apparently as a tactic to establish more public faith by taking a firm stance on a point.

    (2) Justice Ginsburg makes the point that, “”We the people…” was composed of a very small portion of the people”, and for that reason, alterations that have been made to the constitution over time are very important when making decisions about a case. With this in mind, the question that I find myself asking at least once a semester resurfaced: Should the constitution be re-written or altered every so often? If so, by who? This is a conversation I would very much like to hear and be a part of, but I’m not even sure who the conversation would be open to…

    (3) Justice Clarence Thomas mentions that there is often a misunderstanding between the public and the court seeing as it is reported that the Supreme Court upheld a decision when they, in fact, did nothing. This is something I listened to with an open mind, but I feel as though I cannot completely agree. It reminds me of the saying that silence is complicity. I don’t think that this is a misunderstanding on the public’s part, but a rational interpretation of the process. I would too, similar to one of my classmates, like to know how the cases they decide to take are chosen or denied. If they are not denied due to the ruling by the lower court being somewhat reasonable, then what would be the reason? If the legal questions to be answered are: (1) Did the lower court apply the law (2) Is the law constitutional, does this mean that if the SC doesn’t hear the case the answers are yes?
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    Justyna Kucharczyk
    Justyna Kucharczyk
    May 22, 2020
    It was interesting to apply what we learned, but also what we know or think we know about the Supreme Court, with a visual. I enjoyed how they emphasized that the Court was a work in progress, from the very start and most Americans did not accept this new form of government. One of the justices made a valid point. We interpret a document created 200 years ago to help solve problems that have occurred 200 years later. I do find that incredibly interesting. From experience, we know things change, people change, demands change, etc.
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    Kiera Gnatz
    Kiera Gnatz
    May 22, 2020
    I thought this was a really interesting insight to the nature of justice relations in the Court! They discussed that the Court had a mutual understanding of respect owed to each justice and that, despite conflicting social and political beliefs, opinions and dissents were acknowledged without disrespect. I do feel that the film was misleading in the sense that it seemed to suggest that anyone who really needed help from the Court could get it (e.g. the lone prisoner without a lawyer who feels their case was mishandled). I don’t think the film discussed enough how the differing social and political opinions I mentioned above shape the kinds of cases the Court is willing to accept.
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    Kiera Gnatz
    Kiera Gnatz

    (Also Ruth <3)
    May 22, 2020

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    Kevin Lyles
    Tess Manke
    Tess Manke
    May 22, 2020
    Wow! I found this film super interesting. It was pretty neat to see the Supreme Court justices in all of their humanity because, at least to me, when I think of Supreme Court justices they seem so powerful and regal but during this film we can see that they are just as human as any of us. They talked about being so nervous and intimidated at the prospect of arguing a case for the first time but they also seem so unbelievably wise and humble. That was really remarkable to see. One would hope that the justices in the highest Court in the country would be morally sound and do the right thing and I think that being able to have some insight into what it's like to be in their shoes made me a lot more proud of our country.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    May 22, 2020
    This was good insight into what the Supreme Court justices actually do. It was more candid and less of the typically withdrawn view, that the layman see the Supreme Court as being. This video shows you the specific type of authority the Supreme Court holds, as well as what its limitations are. I also enjoyed seeing how women justices were able to "hold court" in a group of male justices especially in the late 90's. Go Ruth!
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    Martin Tully
    Martin Tully
    May 22, 2020
    This Supreme Court documentary reveals how the Court functions, and I believe that the most interesting aspect is how everyone has the potential for their case to be heard - whether that person is either the president or a prisoner - all individuals are made equal by the authority of the Justices. However, it can be debated that not all people are given the same opportunity or treated equally by the Court, i.e., the Dred Scott decision, because the notion of justice for all is a concept that is difficult to implement when human beings are naturally bias. With that said, the Court as an institution represents itself as a system that strives to remove bias while implementing the law fairly and righteously, which is why the Court needs to be protected by those with the highest levels of integrity.
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    David Warszewik
    David Warszewik
    May 22, 2020
    An aspect of the Court's function that I had not thought in depth about is how the written opinions that are issued by the court are final. The justices writing them do not have a chance to explain themselves (like a politician could) or their opinion so everything must be very clear in the published opinions. Additionally, I was surprised to see that the U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments are open to the public, however, it makes sense because it is still a court. This connects to my last comment, how there is no inside story for the court. The judiciary, as one of the justices commented, is the most open of the benches of government. They hear arguments and those arguments are open to the public and when they rule they publish their opinions to the public.
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    Amy Gordon
    Amy Gordon
    May 22, 2020
    This documentary was very insightful but I agree with one of the commentators below with their assessment of Citizen's United. I do find it difficult to believe that they have learned from the mistakes of past court cases and that justices are always arguing in good faith- I personally believe that judges who advocate for "original intent" are activist judges that are able to cloak their political views behind some facade of legitimacy (i.e., this is what the writers of the Constitution intended). Obviously if we interpreted the Constitution as it was originally intended, women, Native Americans, black citizens and other minorities would be excluded from the process entirely. It seems obvious to me that, given technological and social advancements, original intent is really not a viable option if the United States wants to remain a world power. The Supreme Court, especially as it is composed today, is very talented at kneecapping much-needed change and protecting private interests.
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    Abedal Arman
    Abedal Arman
    Sep 10, 2019
    This video was indeed a significant representation on what the supreme courts functions really are. It was really relevant to get a chance to hear from the justices. I never knew people are given the chance to visit the SCOTUS. The civil war solved the slavery decision, and after the war it granted voting rights and citizenship, which is a key concept to understanding public law. I found it interesting that many people regard the 14th amendment as the second bill of rights, that it protected citizens against federal power. I wasn't clicking with a the Virginia Law professor as he was tedious, but other than that it was pretty informative, and many of it we covered in this class; however, professor Lyles was more clear and informative.
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    Marissa Scavelli
    Marissa Scavelli
    Sep 7, 2019
    I found this video to be very intriguing and informative. I liked how the justices were interviewed throughout the film. IIt was interesting to hear the justices speak about their personal experiences as Supreme Court Justices. I also liked how the justices spoke of their interpersonal relationships with each other. For example, before they go out and hear a case, each justice shakes one another's hands. They also have a “rule” in place that seems to keep a sense of equality between the justices; the rule is that everyone speaks once before anyone speaks twice. I liked this because everyone has opinions and thoughts about a topic, but often times it can be difficult to speak in a group if not given the opportunity. Based on the film, it seems as though the justices have great relationships with each other even though many of them disagree on many issues. This is a great example of how people can still work side by side even if they have opposing views.
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    Christopher King
    Christopher King
    Sep 5, 2019
    I did not like this film at all. It is a nice idea that the little guy gets his opportunity and day in court with supreme court, but that is not the case in regards that anyone can right the supreme court from their jail cell. Coming from a time and remembering the court handing the corporations personhood(Citizens United) I doubt we will see any cases talking to those imprisoned anytime soon and continue to only see things from interest groups. The video does show what the judicial branch does in the vaguest sense but that is as far as I feel it gets. This information though doesn't get any further than a POLS 101 class though.
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    Leya Ismail
    Leya Ismail
    Sep 5, 2019
    The film does a good job of condensing what the judicial branch in our government does, as well as specifying what the jobs and functions of the supreme court justices are. I found the footage of the justices themselves speaking to be insightful, because they each had their own commentary and perspectives on how the job is done. Their testimony made me realize that without any question or restriction, their decisions are the purely derived of their own beliefs, in the cases that are presented to them. This is concerning because their beliefs may not be representative of the larger population or society as a whole, and although they are supposed to be bipartisan in theory, reality does not corroborate this. Ultimately the film brought attention to just how much power the supreme court has, and highlighted for me a concern, that citizens do not have a direct say in who is chosen to be a judge in the most powerful court in the country.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 4, 2019
    The film gave me a solid foundation for understanding the Judicial branch of our government. In elementary and high school the most I was taught about this branch was that they "interpret the law," but that does no justice to the amount of responsibility and power that it truly has. The film showed how the Justices themselves are just people with both an awesome power but heavy burden in being the final word in some of the most precarious moments in American history from the civil war to the modern day as the film explained. Moreover, I especially found the fact that each Justice is not alone in their decision making but also have their own of clerks which assist them understanding the writs, laws, and situations that they are and will be involved in. In closing, the film provided an excellent entry into learning the basic footing that the Judicial system means for the United States government and people.
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    Vince Santoria
    Vince Santoria
    Sep 4, 2019
    I found the visitor's film for the supreme court insightful. The thing that stuck with me the most on a more personal level is while these justices have an incredibly important duty they are able to maintain work relationships with one another despite the inherent focus on how politics play a role in the Judicial branch of government. I also thought about how interesting it is that we, the public, put so much emphasis on Presidential Nominations for Supreme Court Justices while forgetting most Justices will outlast their appointer by a decade or more. While I wish we could learn more about the day to day role of the Justices I did find it insightful about how each of them essentially has their own staff of highly skilled clerks and assistants and secretaries that read the petitions and writ of certs designed to be sent to the Supreme Court. In addition to all the Writs received by the Supreme Court only a very few of them are heard by the Justices, and people (the public and media) will assume if they don't take a case they agree with the lower courts decision. Overall I found the short film to be very interesting in how any given case comes to the Supreme Court and how that case will move from there.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 4, 2019
    I found the documentary to be very insightful as to how the Supreme Court functions. Often times when one thinks of the court, they tend to forget that these are real people. It was nice having the actual judges explain how they work. I think it's interesting how a Justice is appointed for life. I find that since they do not have to seek re-election, the Justices are able to focus more on the task at hand, they are less likely to be swayed by public opinion. II also enjoyed that Justice O'Connor reminded the audience that no single petition/case takes precedence, they are all reviewed equally. Due to media coverage, it is easy to believe that a case is more important than the other. I also think that the court should review more cases considering the size of our country. Lastly, I wanted to add how they mentioned that the Justices are not influenced by the views of the President who nominated them. I believe that this is another common misconception of the SCOTUS.
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    Nadeen Elsayed
    Nadeen Elsayed
    Sep 3, 2019
    The film was very informative when it came to the history of the Supreme Court, which was very useful to see how we ended up where we are today with our Supreme Court. One comment that really stuck with me throughout the film is that decisions can be made and influenced by popular opinion. I think this can be extremely true in various cases considering politics and law go hand in hand whether we as a society want it to or not. An example to show case this is the Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage. If the Supreme Court Judges are ruling based off of the constitution, and the constitution has not been altered drastically since, then why did the judges rule that same sex marriage is a constitutional right now instead of back then? I think this has to do with the influence of popular opinion in the public. Another aspect of the film that I found interesting was the Dredd Scott decision portion. To me, that point in the movie was a reminder that the Supreme Court decisions haven’t always been “morally correct”, which really spoke volumes to me since I realized that humans are easily influenced by their surroundings which ties back with my earlier point — popular opinion, or those who can make the most noise, can make a difference that way.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 3, 2019
    The film was quite interesting and talked about many things that I did not know about the Supreme Court and The Supreme Court building. A major point that I take from the film is the fact that The Supreme Court building is open to the general public for visits and tours and are even able to sit in for an oral argument. This really surprised me since various federal government buildings restrict access to the common citizen that have no business to take care off. The people tend to have the idea that the government gives of a sense of secrecy and creates this bubble-like barrier that separates us from Federal Government. Another point that really caught my attention was when the justices pointed out that they are not able decide what issues they would life to work on as the other branches of government would. This demonstrates how different the Judicial Branch is and that in park gives it the unique role of power. The checks and balances really take off and is upheld to limit each branch of government to focus on what they are supposed to do. As Justice Ruth Ginsburg states, the constitution that they must follow was first established for a completely different group of people and the constitution that we have today includes a larger and brooder group that are living up to different circumstances today. Some of the laws that they have to defend can apply in a different manner today compared to how they could have been interpreted in a case over 200 years ago. This is a very remarkable point to me because I feel that it is one of the biggest issues we have today. We have people tackle problems that existed in our ancestor’s era apply the same logic to problems in our era. I believe it is extremely difficult to use the same logic over a case decision for problems that have evolved over time. Partly why we have such a wide range of points of view over specific topics. Overall, great film and very informative.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 3, 2019
    One of the most interesting things that struck me in the documentary was when they were discussing how judges can't decide what issues to focus on in the same was the senate or the house can, they have to wait for the issue to be brought to them. This struck me as very. Interesting as a viewpoint because to me it has always seemed that the Supreme Court chooses what issues it looks at and which ones it doesn't. Beyond that, the overall message that I left the documentary with was how truly powerful the Supreme Court is in establishing law in the United States but also how that power often is viewed and respected globally as a governing body.
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    Jessica Amyette
    Jessica Amyette
    Sep 3, 2019
    This film was very interesting in that we were able to hear the justices themselves speaking on what their duties entail. One of the things that struck me was when one of justices stated that when they make their decisions they are solely basing it of off of the law, institution, and of course their own implicit conscience. At that point, the public has no direct ability to influence the Supreme Court's final decision. It was also impressive to me to realize how much respect and authority the Supreme Court has in the United States and throughout the world. Although they have lost credibility at some points in history, such as with the Dred Scott Decision, overall they maintain a strong power and influence over our country which is vital to maintaining our democratic state.
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    Yumna Siddiqi
    Yumna Siddiqi
    Sep 2, 2019
    This film was very informative and truly emphasized the importance of the Supreme Court. I am surprised that there have only been around 100 Supreme Court justices who have served in all these hundreds of years, though that does seem fitting given the fact that Supreme Court judges are given lifetime appointments. I think it's interesting that the film mentioned that the justices make decisions influenced by popular opinion, but I do not personally think this is the case. In a political climate such as today's, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which perspective is the "popular" one, and each justice's political views (right-leaning vs left-leaning) is often blatantly obvious in their decisions. For this reason I don't think the court can be portrayed as neutral, which is what it seemed like the film was trying to portray the court as. I noticed the significance of the film talking about the Dredd Scott decision, which proves that the Supreme Court has not historically always made the most morally sound judgement. The film said it was the biggest mistake the Supreme Court had ever made.

  75. Andrew Tuider
    Andrew Tuider
    Sep 2, 2019
    What strikes me as most interesting in the film is that the Supreme Court is the judiciary of the oldest democracy in the world and must interpret almost 250 years of precedent. As Justice Ginsberg said in the beginning, in the America that the Constitution was written, “We the people” did not apply to all those living within the country – women, African Americans, Native Americans, among others did not have full legal rights or protections under the Constitution. While watching the film I also thought about the current debate around lifetime appointments of judges. While the intent is to keep the Judiciary as a politically independent branch, we know that today this is not the case, as evidenced by recent nominations such as Merrick Garland or Brett Kavanaugh. Appointments are being used as a tool to push a party’s interests for a period of time much longer than the term a party hold power. Justice Ginsberg herself is 86 and has served on the Court since 1993, providing 26 years of typically left leaning decisions.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2019
    The film was insightful in that it explained what goes on in the supreme court, and that is isn’t as easy to make a decision especially since they all share different opinions. But it was interesting to learn that takes weeks to write their opinion, which shows how long the whole process is. It was also nice to hear from the justices about their experiences in the supreme court, for instance, when Justice Ruth Ginsberg was asked about her first day and she shared how she felt. It gave us a bit more insight on them as individuals.
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    Monalisa Mensah
    Monalisa Mensah
    Sep 2, 2019
    I found this film very interesting and it provided in-depth responsibilities of the Supreme Court justices. One thing that stood put to me was when Justice O’Connor stated that all petitions get the same individual consideration. What this meant to me is that no citizen’s status, be it economic or social, is above the other in terms of granting or denying writ of cert. I wonder if there is ever going to be or has there been a case where some form of bias or race privileges come to play in this decision of granting or denying writ of cert. Also, I learned that the justices must wait for people to bring in their cases, they cannot just address issues or cases that has not been brought to the Supreme Court by people. I hoped the process in which a writ of cert is declined would have been discussed in the film. Overall, this was a very good and informative film.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2019
    It is a surprisingly well made documentary despite the fact it was a privately made film. It’s curious to think that the government hasn’t funded for something in similar topic or quality. It is eye-opening to hear that only 100 justices served the Supreme Court in the country’s history. Despite being in such high positions, it is important to remember that the Justices are still human and they work more proficiently when they stop and think about their position. They make a point that the Constitution, despite being written so many years ago, still holds true and that the fundamental meaning hasn’t changed while the nature and interpretations of the law has.

    The film also clarifies that while the Supreme Court works and sees cases, whenever media outlets cite their smaller decisions, it makes it sound like the Supreme Court made an official statement on the matter when they really didn’t. The film helps to “demystify” the grandeur of the Supreme Court’s dealings to the public as it isn’t as simple as Justices bringing up a topic to their fellows to actively change matters, an issue must come to them for them to work on together.
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    Daniel Garcia
    Daniel Garcia
    Sep 2, 2019
    This was a really well put together documentary. The fact that there have only been just over 100 justices to sit on the bench of the Supreme Court in a country nearing 250 years old is pretty remarkable. The video mentions that the prestige attached to the bench has some interesting effects. One of the Justices mentioned that they can only start to really do their job properly when they forget that they are even on the Supreme Court, which takes years to accomplish. It also creates a public opinion that the SCOTUS is sort of a distant entity instead of a co-equal branch of government. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the Justices take issue with this notion and say that, on the contrary, the Supreme Court is one of, if not the only branch of government to provide complete transparency for the American public by explicitly defining why the individuals on the bench and the collective whole arrived at a particular decision. Normally, especially in the Legislative Branch, the reasons why laws are passed and even the laws themselves are buried within hundreds of pages of jargon that come to make up omnibus bills. However, even though the Supreme Court should be viewed as a coequal branch of government, the decisions on cases that it chooses to hear have a profound effect. Two of the cases brought up in this video (Marbury v Madison and Dred Scott v Sanford) established the precedent for Constitutional review and caused an entire Civil War. Decisions of the bench should not be taken lightly. Additionally, another interesting aspect of the Court is the fact that they are autonomous in deciding which cases they want to hear and which ones they want to dismiss. As we learned in class, the Supreme Court has two (arguably three) areas of jurisdiction that allow it to hear a vast majority of cases, however, it only ends up hearing a fraction of the cases brought to them. Most of the cases arrive as Petitions/Writs of Certiorari. I would keep going but i ran out of characters to use 🙁
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2019
    This was a really informative documentary in that it showed the “behind the scenes” of how the court operates. It is a little older now, so I wonder if any of the day to day operations have changed. I know for sure the political neutrality– or at least the veneer of it– has receded quite a bit. It is unfortunately still an imperfect system (as we saw with Merrick Garland). And, to some, the Supreme Court can seem like a reactionary institution that, overall, stymies progress except in the few and far between most famous cases. I’m not sure if I would go so far as to write off the institution entirely, but I do think reforms of some kind have to be made and it is good to see that candidates are discussing options for the Court.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 30, 2019
    In regards to the film, I believed it was very informative in conveying how the Supreme court runs. I also didn’t know how long opinions could take after a rule has been declared over a case. It was interesting to learn. But, I do share a concern on how the 9 justices are appointed by the president. Especially when the justices are there for a lifetime (which is another concern of mine.) In regards to the justices I’m not very well rounded on how the individual justices can be held accountable if something were found out like a scandal of some sort, or even one misusing their power. How would one be held accountable if they are suppose to be appointed for their life time. My concern stems from if the president has an agenda, that agenda even if the president finishes his term can still be put in place. Is there anything in place protecting the constitution and the people from personal agendas? The film even admitted at the end of the day the justices are still people and people are not perfect therefore they could be corrupted, and still preach “we the people.”Another concern i have about the lifelong commitment on the court, is the ideology and perspective that is kept within that court. How do we expected elder justices to concern themselves with modern issues something they may have not seen before or is freshly coming out of light. How would they be able to accurately hold an unbiased view if their ideology in itself is not able to comprehend the full picture that is needed to provide that unbiased view. You can’t. Therefore the idea of the supreme court to be able to appropriately rule a modern case (that has no history rulings) doesn’t seem to be plausible. Though I acknowledge the supreme court could over rule their original decision, it still doesn’t seem productive to only have elders on the court. I believe it should be mixed to be able to balance opinions and integrate new ideas, for a better outcome of compromise when handling cases.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user

    There have been prime examples of judges who were nominated by a president with a number of scandals. Take for example Justice Clarence Thomas (sexually harassed Anita Hill) and he’s still on the Court to this day. Or even recently confirmed Brett Kavanaugh! It shows us how the power of political parties in Congress and the presidency sways the Court in a certain political direction. The legacy of the Court lasts longer than a 2 term presidency or a Red/Blue senate.
    Aug 30, 2019

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    Kevin Lyles
    Samantha Cazares
    Samantha Cazares
    Aug 30, 2019
    The film elaborates on the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision making process. The focus is how the justices communicate and express their ideologies and how those ideologies affect society. As Justice Kennedy mentioned, there is both advantage and disadvantage in interpreting a 200 year old document. By this I think Justice Kennedy means that the constitution is open to interpretation and can/should be interpreted differently and freely to better fit societal norms as they change.
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    Ruby Valle
    Ruby Valle
    Aug 30, 2019
    The documentary was lovely because one is able to have an inside look at the operations of the Supreme Court. The scene in which the Justices were sitting together, discussing how they have similar objectives and respect each other, was quite surreal. It is not common to see the Justices in such a way, and in a way it gives them character. It was also interesting to see the Justices discussing, specifically Justice Clarence Thomas, he mentioned how the public has this misconception of the Supreme Court Justices specifically being the ones who choose not to take certain cases, when in fact, it is not them necessarily. It is interesting to see how they truly care and acknowledge what the public thinks, and how they want to change the misconceptions. By simply viewing this documentary, one can learn that you can search any case in the Supreme Court and view their opinions. It is now so easily accessible because of the technology we have, it just takes a want and interest in looking for the proper information to stay informed about what is occurring in this country.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 30, 2019
    I don’t agree whatsoever that the Supreme Court is “not a political institution” as the film suggests because of the lifelong appointments. Whose on the Court is strategic in itself. A more leftist president wouldn’t nominate someone Scalia-esque or Rehnquist-esque and President Trump’s selections already speak volumes about their political adherences. This philosophy of the Court being “neutral” or “unpolitical” is so false.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user

    This was one of the concerns I brought up within my response.I wanted to understand how can the supreme court be protected by personal agendas and corruption if they are only appointed by presidents.
    Aug 30, 2019

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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 30, 2019
    What I loved about this documentary is that it works to demystify the Supreme Court by tackling common misconceptions that the American public has about the Court. So often, many Americans pass through their day to day hearing about decisions made by the Supreme Court, while residing on an assumption of opaqueness and secrecy surrounding decisions that affect the people. This documentary does a great job in addressing that disparity, and does so by creating more humanized profiles of Supreme Court Justices — as well as by addressing that issue in direct terms, sharing that the Court’s decisions are in the public domain and their work is open to public discourse.

    I also particularly liked seeing, in a more in-depth and self-described manner, the thoughts that certain justices had about the Constitution, their interpretations of the Constitution, and how that impacts their vision for how the United States should be governed. Seeing former Justice Scalia’s personal interpretations of the Constitution was very telling of the ways in which he approached his work with the Supreme Court (which is also kind of a ‘duh’ statement; but was nonetheless interesting to see).

    Knowing the huge number of cases, people, and testimonies intended for the Court, I would love to find out more about how cases are chosen by staffers to be brought in front of the Court, given the information already shared in the documentary.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 30, 2019
    The most interesting aspect of this Supreme Court documentary to me was the paradoxical supremacy of the court. On one hand it is said that all other courts are inferior to it, but that the court also relies on the faith of the people as well as adherence to the Constitution. For example, the Dredd Scott case and the resulting Civil War seems to show what a lack of faith in the court can do. Even though the justices are meant to adhere to the Constitution solely, can popular opinion still be an influence? Would it matter in a 5-7 majority in either ideological direction?

    The documentary was interesting in how it addressed the importance of clerks for deciding each case, not taking on a case meaning there is no precedence set, allegiance to the president who appointed the justice, and the relationship between justices. However, I found it interesting that the Supreme Court was characterized as not a political institution because of the implications of their lifelong appointments.

    Another question I had after watching the documentary was about the Supreme Court being called “the least dangerous branch”. For example, if the executive branch were not to follow the directive of the Supreme Court, how could it retaliate?
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    Nazariy Semanyshyn
    Nazariy Semanyshyn
    Aug 30, 2019
    When starting the film, I noticed how much emphasis was put on the fact that the Supreme Court building is open to the public. I enjoyed the fact that the times of operation/ visiting times were put on the screen to make sure that the public not only heard the information, but was also able to see and read it off of the television screen. The film itself gave a very good introduction to the work that is being done in the Supreme Court building and what the justices do. The fact that so many cases are submitted to the Supreme Court every year and only a few out of the few thousand is mind boggling solely because the justices have to go through every case very carefully to make sure that they choose the right ones to take to the Supreme Court. I enjoyed that there was a historical component to the film. There was a part when it was explained how currently, the Supreme Court tells the president of the United States what he can and cannot do; however, it was not always that way. It was then explained that when the Supreme Court moved to Washington, a man named John Marshal was appointed Chief Justice. He was the person who struck down an act of Congress as unconstitutional, which showed the public how powerful the Supreme Court truly was. I felt that adding this historical fact into the film was crucial as the viewers were given an example of the power that the Supreme Court has held. Additionally, I found it to be interesting as to how the filmmakers shed light on the fact that the Supreme Court Justices are learning from the past in order to improve their work as the justices. Because they had a chance to examine the work that was done by the Supreme Court in the past, they can now understand how to work better. This is a good way for the viewer to understand how important it is to understand the past and history because it can have a deep impact on our current work.
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    Bill Rohm
    Bill Rohm
    Aug 30, 2019
    I thought the film was a really interesting and important look into the way in which the Supreme Court functions. As mentioned in the film, public attention towards the Supreme Court tends to focus overwhelmingly on the cases it decides and what effect these decisions have on our society; very little attention is paid to the ways that these decisions are reached, or even on how cases come to be argued in front of the Supreme Court in the first place. It was nice to hear from all of the Justices that were on the court during the year this film was made. I am not a fan of all of the Judicial philosophies held by the Justices, then or now, but it was gratifying to see that they could argue and disagree with each other while still valuing and respecting opposing opinions. Compared to the current state of our Legislative and Executive branches, it was almost a wonder to behold. I thought one of the Justices (I think it was Souter) made a very interesting comment when he said that it takes 3 to 5 years to truly be able to do your job once you are on the Court because that’s how long it takes to get used to being a Supreme Court Justice. I think that goes to further show that, as much as we like to think of the Court as impartial and institutionalized, it is run by human beings and that is going to effect outcomes. As a final point, it was nice to hear Justice Kennedy say that oral arguments do matter. It is easy for us to assume that outcomes are decided beforehand, but I think it is important that the public continues to believe in the Court, and for that belief to be sustained we must be convinced that the cases are decided on the evidence, not personal opinions.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 30, 2019
    This film sheds light on the Supreme Court and it’s previous cases that Justices have been faced with. It also made it easier to understand some of the rulings, policies, cases, etc that go on within the court. It also corrected the public’s false assumption of the court being secretive and not revealing information when all cases of the Supreme Court are actually readily available to any citizen who wants to look at them. It was interesting to see that the justices of the court also disagree with interpretations of the constitution but they respect each other and their views and work together to make the best decision for the people. The film also portrays an interesting insight of the Justice’s thought processes as they’re being interrogated by the lawyers and how they form their own arguments. One Justice spoke personally about her experience in her first conference and how it was important to have a brief introduction so everyone is on board and stays on board.

    Interesting fact- The Supreme Court receives almost 7 thousand cases a year and only careful select a few to take on. They meet and discuss and vote which cases to take on. They also discussed that the constitution is “remarkable” because it leads us, and works, even 200 years later. One of the Justices speaks about her experience in one of her first conference and she explains that it is difficult and intriguing at the same time because you have a large task in-front if you and the nation is depending on you to take a honorable position when resolving the case. It gave the viewers a sense of comfort while watching this film because it makes the Justices more relatable since it shows they also feel fear and uncertainty at times.I personally found this film interesting because it showed me how these Justices, who we usually assume are a lot different than we are, can actually be quite relatable.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 30, 2019
    The film was very informative and I learned a lot of things about the Supreme Court. One thing that i found a bit funny was that it was a film about a film. Well, now to begin with what I learned about the Supreme Court, first of about 2,500 people visit the Supreme courts in one day. The building is opened to the public and people can sit in during the arguments; there are also a number of self guided tours. I found it very helpful and encouraging to citizens for the film to include this information because not a lot of them know they have access to government buildings. The film in my opinion did a great job in explaining the functions of the Supreme Court and the Justices. It all begins with a case or also referred to a written petition and there are 9 judges that read each petition to decide which ones to take on. Another fact that i learned about the judges is that they are appointed by a president and can hold their position for life and as long as they keep good behavior. I also learned that the Justices meet weekly to decide on the cases and they receive about a hundred cases a week. Most of those cases are actually requests for Certiorari. One of the justices stated that a denial of a cretiorari has no presidential value. I have a question about that, what does that mean exactly? Overall the film definitely covered the important aspects of the Supreme Court and the professor answered any further questions from people very well. He explained the way the supreme court keeps his authority, the way the press provides misleading and wrong information, and the loyalty some justices might feel towards the president that appointed them.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 30, 2019
    The visitor’s film was an inside view into the branch of government that is often misunderstood from the public’s point of view, and took strides to show what goes on day to day into its process. It allowed the audience to not only learn about the daily happenings, but also gave a chance to empathize with the justices, and get some insights from them, which is not often the case. And although hearing from the judge’s on a personal scale is not always possible when it comes to the context of the Supreme Court, it was refreshing to see that, although there is an idea of secrecy that enshrouds the Court, there is actually a great deal of transparency that actually exists. Most interesting to me, was the ability to hear from justices on the court at the time, and to be able to compare and contrast to today’s Court, and how (and if) things have changed. Case in point: getting to hear from Justice Ginsberg, who still today is on the Court.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 30, 2019
    The Supreme Court visitor’s film I thought did a good job in showing the Supreme Court perspective and outlook on some ideas, as well as clarifying some things that may be miss interpreted due o various reasons like media or the news paper etc. For example, when they were talking about how more often than not even if they haven’t had a specific case or issue brought up to them for examination and review, the media will put a twist on it with headlines like Supreme Court does not support a certain issue, when in reality that’s not actually the case. They can’t go over issues that they feel need to be brought up. the issues have to be brought to their attention for them to take action on it, and I think that’s something really important for people to understand.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 29, 2019
    The Supreme Court visitor’s film was a unique look into the Court’s and the Justice’s daily functions. It also highlighted the history of the Court and the significance of the process of judicial review. What stuck out to me was when the Justices talked about their views on the Court’s role as interpreters of the Constitution. Specifically, I noticed Justice Scalia’s and Justice Ginsburg’s responses to this question because of how aptly they represent the difference of views on the political spectrum. While Scalia believes that the Constitution “still means what it originally meant,” Ginsburg pointed out that the Constitution had to change in meaning because at the time it was written, ‘We the People’ only actually represented a small amount of the American people. This conversation drew my attention because it reveals to me how conservatives, like Scalia, admire the US of the Founding Fathers and believe they knew best when composing this document. This especially makes me think of the Second amendment debate and how many people continue to use the Second Amendment to defend against gun control laws, despite the fact that guns and our relationship with them has drastically changed over the past 200 years.
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    Andy Garcia
    Andy Garcia
    Aug 29, 2019
    The film really convinces the viewer to sympathize with the supreme court justices thru its humanizing interviews. Although they may serve on the highest judicial court in the world, they are just individuals who want to solve and moderate human problems. They admit they often had or have workload and adjustment issue. Although they come from varying backgrounds, presidential terms and political affiliations, as one justice said in the interview, their fundamental objectives are the same. They all respect each other and it is comforting that they shake each others hand before discussing.
    The film provides the truth of the transparency of the court. Supreme Court hearings can be heard and visitors go there often, Transcripts are public and made easily accessible. A justice was offended that the interviewer mentioned the supreme court is secretive, when she says it is quite the opposite.
    I learned a lot from this film and it definitely makes me eager to look up some supreme court transcripts and one day visit the court.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 29, 2019
    The film addressed a public misunderstanding that the Court is very secretive simply because the justices don’t reveal themselves in public very often. However, their cases, opinions, and reasoning are very easily accessible to the public. Just a simple Google search will take you straight to them. The Court is in fact incredibly transparent. It’s just that most of the Court’s cases and opinions are not widely advertised or featured in the media.

    I also find it interesting to point out how the documentary made all of the justices seem a lot more human, in regards to efficiency and workload. Completely writing and revising your own opinions in a matter of days seemed like an unfathomable task. But I was glad to hear that law clerks actually play an extensive role in conducting research and draft work for opinions. I’m also glad that justices take their time with revisions, with revisions sometimes taking up to several months.
    Reply
    Anthony Sikorski
    Anthony Sikorski

    Fun fact, many eventual Supreme Court Justices started off as law clerks in the court, such as Neil Gorsuch, Elena Kagan, John Roberts, and Stephen Breyer. A Supreme Court Clerkship is the most elite clerkship one can hold, as each Justice can have 4 clerks, while the Chief Justice can have 5. I think it’s important to note that since clerks help write opinions and conduct research for the respective Justice they are clerking for, clerks can actually play a role in swaying the opinion of a Justice.
    Aug 29, 2019

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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 29, 2019
    The film provided a general overview of information; about the Supreme Court of the United States. What really intrigues me is that thousands of Writs of Cert that come in front of the Supreme Court; and only a limited number are selected to be heard. In addition, Writs of Certs are written from lawyers to a prisoner writing in his/her cell; according to the film. Just like the film portrayed that justices just can’t walk in and make a change; unlike the president or Congress, but there’s a long process,that I personally feel not all people in America know about. in addition, once oral arguments are heard the justices take a process of writing their opinions for the case, just like how the film said, that their decisions must be made by the end of their term in June. This film gave me a better understanding of the dynamics in the role of the Supreme Court.
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    Ines Josefina Castaneda
    Ines Josefina Castaneda
    Aug 29, 2019
    The film was explained in summary what the supreme court dose but it also gave us a very interesting perspective with the interviews of the Justices. I think a very important comment was the one made by Justice Clarence Thomas which still holds true today. Media need to be careful on how we report things because of how things can be interpreted by various groups because of how close the issue hits home. Media is very influential and today with important issues going into the supreme court (re: immigration) we need to be careful on how we interpret the supreme courts decisions.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user

    I absolutely agree. The media definitely needs to be more careful when reporting on Supreme Court cases. Take for instance the media’s reporting on Timbs v. Indiana – the relatively recent Supreme Court case on civil forfeiture. Many mainstream news outlets claimed that the ruling would mark the end of civil forfeiture. However, this isn’t the case at all. The Supreme Court merely ruled that the particular seizure in question violated the Excessive Fines clause. Nowhere did they actually state that civil forfeiture itself is unconstitutional. The Court also notably did not address any of the due process implications of civil forfeiture.
    Aug 29, 2019

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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 29, 2019
    The film portrays the Supreme Court as a dynamic and transparent organ of government. Previous shortcomings of the Court are acknowledged, as well as the monumental progress that has been made to this day. Interestingly, there has been a common misconception regarding the Court’s lack of transparency, which has been criticized by the justices themselves. Supreme Court opinions are made available to the public and provide in-depth reasoning as to how and why a certain opinion has been reached.

    Overall, the film is very informative in that it provides a brief history, covers key cases, highlights the responsibilities of various individuals affiliated with the Court, and sheds light on the decision-making process of the Court, all of which the general public may not be familiar with.
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    Henry Jiang
    Henry Jiang
    Aug 29, 2019
    Basically, the film gives us an overview of the Supreme Court, discussed briefly of several important cases, and what visitors can see. It was interesting to see a more in depth of the functions of the Court, and in addition, actually see the room in which the 9 justices would sit down and vote for each case. Another surprising and interesting thing I learned from the documentary is that when one of the justices write a majority opinion, the first draft is typically finished in about 4 weeks and may continue to revise and redraft for months.
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    Sylvia Waz
    Sylvia Waz
    Aug 29, 2019
    The film was a good indicator of what is true about the Supreme Court and what is myth. A lot of people have the misconception that when the court denies a case it has set precedent or that the Court is upholding a decision. The justices just have to pick the cases that they feel are appropriate for the court to decide.

    It also provided a view of the thought process on what the individual members of the Court thought of being in such a high position. The film allowed the audience to view the justices individually, which is something many people forget about the judicial system. The Court is put on such a high pedestal and rightfully so; however, people forget that they are individuals making moral decision that shape their everyday lives.

    Another interesting point that the film made was that it mentioned that the Courts have to make controversial decisions and they eventually cannot avoid them. A part of that is because cases come to the Court once it becomes a concern of the public. If enough cases are concerning the public, then more cases will go to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. Of course, they can deny these cases but, more than likely they will take one once they feel it needs to be decided to set precedent on how other courts should approach the issue.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    May 28, 2019
    This film helped me better understand what goes on in the background of the Supreme Court and how the public really does not understand the process. I was able to watch and understand more than just discussing what happens in a classroom. Someone else had commented that it would be interesting to see a remake with the current justices and I agree with that so we can see if things have changed or if much of the same topics are discussed.
    Reply
    Roaa Hussien
    Roaa Hussien
    May 27, 2019
    This film was very informative in regards to the perspective of the Mr. Howard’s commentary on the film itself. The introduction to the film set the structure and goal of the film, which made it more comprehensible than watching the film on its own.
    The question and answer session at the end reinforced topics that I already knew and introduced new perspectives.

    It is often forgotten that Supreme Court Justices are beyond a marble courtroom. They are real people with opinions, but unlike everyone else in Washington, they do not desire any publicity. Their discreetness often leaves the American people little to interpert from their final product.

    This film is for anyone with an adequate understanding of the US judicial system but is curious about the “backstage action” in the SCOTUS
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    Blanca Henkle
    Blanca Henkle
    May 25, 2019
    The film on the Supreme Court initially appeared to be aimed at dismissing the criticism surrounding the unknown factors of the unelected officials in the judicial branch of government. Although it is presumed to be the secretive branch of government, the point made in the film was effective in making it seem as if it is the most transparent. The judicial branch is the only branch of government that always explains the reason for their decisions. Although the process of making their decisions is unknown, the end results that change the country, are explained in great lengths in their opinions. I think it is a valuable and important quality that enhances the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and power.
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    Jacob Mattenson
    Jacob Mattenson
    May 25, 2019
    What strikes me is that there are untold thousands of petitions for writs of cert that come into the SCOTUS, but those cases that actually are considered are those that’ve first gotten past the judicial staff. It would be interesting to look into how and why the staffers choose which cases that they do. Does it have to do with the “Dahl Equation” we discussed?
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Jun 14, 2018
    This film provides a unique focus on the SCOTUS that is not typically broadcasted or drawn to light in the public/media today. Although slightly dated, I think this video illuminates the significant struggles that justices deal as to reason and interpreate the Constitution on their own as well as the major functions that it carries out.

  76. Julie Walsh
    Julie Walsh
    Jun 14, 2018
    I went to DC for spring break this year and spent several hours visiting the Supreme Court. I got there around 8am for the 10am oral argument, but only about half of the line got in. The next day, I got there at 7am and the line was already around the block. I decided to go back to my friend’s apartment for breakfast and then returned to the Supreme Court at 10:30am. The line was still around the block, but I decided to skip the opportunity to see 3 minutes of the oral argument and explored on my own instead. I skipped the visitor’s video, but now I wish I would have watched it to compare it to this one. I did, however, have the opportunity to sit in the courtroom for a “courtroom lecture” and it was absolutely fascinating. I think it’s so great that they offer videos and lectures because not many people get to see oral arguments so it’s nice to have an alternative.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Jun 14, 2018
    Much like Maria mentioned I would like to see an updated version of this film as it would be interesting to hear from the current crop of justices. I like how this shows that even though they all have the same job to interpret the Constitution, there are significant differences in how it should be done. And when a case is reversed like Dred Scott it is less due to new legal arguments being presented and more the beliefs of the new justices.
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    Russell Dahlman
    Russell Dahlman

    Matt, I agree. I think it would be interesting to see the Court today, along with the undoubtedly interesting relationships between some of the justices as the Court swings further and further right.
    Jun 14, 2018

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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Jun 7, 2018
    I think this video does a great job in explaining the process of the Supreme Court especially how it works and how the Justices schedule meetings in order to discuss these cases they receive everyday and decide whether this cases poses a constitutional issue or not.
    Reply
    Andrew Tuider
    Andrew Tuider
    Jun 4, 2018
    I agree with everyone else in that I think this film did a great job in explaining how the Supreme Court functions and acts in relation to the other branches of government and within the constitutional framework as well as showing the daily functions of the Court and Justices. I thought it was interesting to see the volume of cases brought before them – enough to warrant a cart that looks like it could be in a warehouse – and that each one is reviewed to determine if the Judges can even invoke the Rule of Four.

    The film did present the Court and Judges in an idealistic way, and the Judges in the interview mostly talked about their experiences and workings of the court. The film did not address that the Judiciary is not completely apolitical, and the judges did not discuss highly controversial cases such as Korematsu v. US.
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    Jung Kim
    Jung Kim
    Jun 3, 2018
    It was an informational film, describing the role of the Supreme Court and how each justice feels about their role as a justice. Its interesting how the justices talk about the court dynamics and the role of those involved in court. It also shows the difficulty in getting cases to court and arguing your case. It poses a statement that “when the court talks the people listen” meaning that people see the Court as final, kind of placing the Courts as above all else. The film glorifies the Courts and the Justices, portraying them as hard working people looking out for the general public with little dispute. It also discuss the political aspects of the Court and the relationship between presidents and their appointed Justices.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    May 31, 2018
    I think that the video did a superb job at explaining how the Supreme Court functions while showcasing the day to day task within the Court. It did cross my mind that this film portrays the Court in a very positive manner. I found the narrator’s interviews with the Supreme Court justices, in particularly the interviews involving multiple justices, to be extremely interesting. Which provided me with a better understanding how the justices perceive their duties and the processes they abide by. In my eyes these interviews humanized the justices. I felt that this video paints the Supreme Court of the United States in a patriotic light while emphasizing the importance and power of the Supreme Court.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    May 29, 2018
    The film was overall interesting. What stood out to me most was how the film mentioned the 14th amendment and how they act as a second Bill of Rights as they protect people from the states. Being in POLS 356, the 14th amendment was brought up in most cases where someone was being wronged by the state. I also found it interesting how the film placed an emphasis on the court’s legitimacy and how it has power because we believe it does.

    Moving forward, I think that the film projected this image of the court that we are often given, this belief that the court is impartial, righteous, and equal. However, their decisions, opinions, and history have proven otherwise.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    May 28, 2018
    The visitor’s film does a commendable job to take the visitors inside the court and get a feel of how things work in the real setting. The film sheds light upon some important aspects like how the chief justices are appointed, that there have been over 100 chief justices that have served America so far and how the justices carry out the processes in the court. Another noteworthy fact I learnt was that under John Marshall the court stated the act of congress as unconstitutional. As expected the court system has had it’s fair share of failures and successes but one of the most notable case was that of Dred Scott that affected the court since they claimed that the congress had no power to ban slavery which enraged many people. The Supreme Court court hears the case in public. The lawyers on both sides of the argument gets a few minutes to argue their position. The justices usually tend to present the issues that they notice in the case and they debate it out to come to a conclusion about the actions they need to take. One of the most fascinating things in this film is the pace of the process of case solving. The media releases the opinions of the justices to the public within hours for the public to the understand the impact of the decisions made by the court. I learnt about a lot of topics from this film that I didn’t think about before so the film definitely succeeds in educating the visitors that the opinions don’t just appear out of nowhere. The opinions come from careful analysis of each case.
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    Zara Khan
    Zara Khan
    May 26, 2018
    I truly enjoyed watching this film, because I learned so many new and interesting facts about how the Supreme Court of the United States really works. I really liked how the professor interviewed the Supreme Court justices, and asked them specific questions about how they ultimately decide decisions on cases and how the process works. One fact that really caught my attention was that all of the justices have the right and ability to redraft an opinion that another justice wrote for a specific case. I really like this idea, because I think that every justice would have different ideas and beliefs about certain topics, and I think that it is both important and fair that every justice has the right to put their opinions/explanations into writing. I also liked how the film showed so much of the interior of the Supreme Court and how much staff there is that helps the Supreme Court Justices to get everything done. Something interesting that I learned from watching this film is that the Supreme Court is open to the general public, and the general public has the right to listen to the oral arguments made by attorneys. Additionally, I liked how the film helped the viewer to get to know the Supreme Court Justices on a more personal level. I truly saw a lot of genuineness and integrity in the justices. However, one statement that I did not really agree with was that “There is no inside story in the Supreme Court” (Supreme Court Visitors Film) that affects the way that decisions are made. I do agree that the justices make their decisions based off of the Constitution and what is ethically right in order to serve justice, however I also believe that the justices use their own experiences, beliefs, and values in order to make decisions. Overall, I really enjoyed watching this film and learned a lot.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    May 25, 2018
    I think that this film does an excellent job at portraying what the Supreme Court is and the significance of the court in a way that someone who is not familiar with the judiciary would be able to comprehend. While watching the film I think what i enjoyed the most was how the film emphasized how the court while still being the highest court of the Land differs in public opinion when the Chief Justice changes . This was portrayed in the film with the great example on how with the Marshall court , scotus view from the public was of great respect and great power after Marbury vs Madison to some and how the court view to the public can change unfavorably and weaken just as it did in with the result of the Dred Scott from the Tanney Court. Moreover I also really enjoy Justice O’Connor comment in how the court is viewed to be private decision making branch when in reality the court is open because the court holds all of their arguments in public unlike the senate . To me I think she brought up a great view because before taking classes such this I never realized how open and public the entire country has access to viewing the Supreme Court opinions and being able to hear oral argument . Finally I Believe what I took most to heart after watching this film is that the even though to some the court may be viewed to have too much power in the end the court really does have equal power that was intended by the framers because to me all of justices from the film empathized the idea that the court really does have the sole task of respecting the constitution as well as deciding to treat every case fairly . Would love to see 2018 updated version of the film !
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    May 25, 2018
    There is “no inside story in the Supreme Court” well this a very strong statement and I don’t necessarily agree with the there is no inside story. there is a inside story to everything. Based on the fact that the decisions are made by justices solely relying on their decisions made accordingly to the interpretation of the Constitution, allows for a lot of room for an inside decisions.

    This documentary is a wonderful way of understanding American Law and We The People.

    I think the that The fact that the Founding Fathers were able to create a document which is still applied 200 years later is beyond amazing.
    Reply
    Zara Khan
    Zara Khan

    Hi Julia,
    I stated this in my post as well, but I agree with you that there is always a deeper inside story to things. I also agree with the comment you made that since judges are making decisions based off of how they interpret the Constitution, there can be several different interpretations made by the justices based off of their own opinions, values, ideas, beliefs, etc. Thus, I do believe there is an inside story.
    May 26, 2018 (edited May 26, 2018)

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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    May 24, 2018
    I think the film does a fantastic job explaining the duty and responsibility that the Court holds to an individual who may know little to nothing about the Court and it’s function while also providing small tidbits of information and insight to interest someone with a little bit more advanced knowledge of the Court.

    To me, one of the most interesting parts of the film itself was when A.E. Dick Howard states “I take it the court prides itself on keeping some distance between itself and the larger public”, a statement which Justice O’Connor strongly took issue with. Justice Breyer, on that point, states, “A judiciary, a court, has no secrets because it’s all out their in the opinion.”

    I personally think that there is a widespread idea surrounding the Court that it’s somehow secret and occurring “behind closed doors”, whereas in reality Justice O’Connor and Justice Breyer are both absolutely correct; the opinion, concurrences and dissents on every case are all online for public access and as such no aspect of the Court is secret, except of course which cases they choose to grant cert. to.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 10, 2017
    A very interesting film that takes a “fresh look” at the court, and allows a close-up view of the court and those who staff it: Supreme Court Justices. I thought it was cool hearing from justices how they use history to assist in making their decisions, and how modernity changes interpretation of different cases.

    They also explore the daily life of the SCOTUS justices. I had never heard about their regular days before, and found it fascinating.Hearing about the power that SCOTUS Justices have and how they exercise that power is awesome.

    I also had never given enough thought to how different arguing a case with 9 justices vs 1, 3, or in some rare cases, 5.

    All in all this was a very interesting film, and I learned a great deal about the SCOTUS that I never considered before.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 10, 2017
    This film introduced and briefed us on the court systems in the United States. One can argue that the judicial process is the least explored topic when it comes to political science (in comparison to executive and legislative). The interviews with the judges made me literally think, “Wow. These guys, in their own interpretation and decisions, can dictate the Constitution”. It felt like a lot of power, even more so than the power of the executive branch. I have a better understanding of the SCOTUS as well, as we explored this topic. They hold a lot of power and responsibility in their hands. And when politicians can’t do their job, the judges are the ones that have to defend the people under the Constitution.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 3, 2017
    Overall, this film was wondrous for someone that is foreign to the country. It shows how much transparency (and justice) from the courts is given to the citizens. The data given and the interviews was a great insight since we dont get to see in so much detail about how a case is discussed during the conferences. Also, the interviews were fantastic because it makes us feel related to them once we see that they also get nervous about their desions. They are USA citizens just like us. The part that I liked the most was when it was mentioned that the law is for the people, and the people (with best judgements) are the ones making this decisions to rule the country caring about us all. I have a better understanding and admire the power that the SCOTUS holds after watching this film. However, I feel that much of this would get lost if, hopefully not, any of the judges has a last breath. Trump then could have advantage over the desitions to rule the country by appointing a n y o n e. It frightens me.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 3, 2017
    An introduction of what happens inside the court. Allows visitor’s to take a fresh look; an inside look, for those who have never been there. It was interesting to see people in Charlottesville, VA, take a personal stake in purporting a virgin sense of the supreme court, considering the current political climate involving that city. It is hard to believe that an estimate of $260,000 was used to create this film. I am most interested in why it costed that much. “Their legitimacy is on the constitution, but their power rests on the public faith…,” well spoken by the narrator. This film reiterates the importance of the confirmation process. I appreciate how they woman out of the group was the one to express the sentiment of how far we have come in the establishment in citizenship. Justice O’ Connor says that Everyone’s writ of certioari gets the same attention, despite who it comes from. I am interested if bias or covert racism ever comes to play.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2017
    This film gave important insight on how the SCOTUS justices work and how the judicial branch itself functions. I appreciate that the justices were interviewed for the film because we normally don`t get to hear about their work from them like we do with politicians outside of the court. One thing about the film that grabbed my attention was that the court hears about 100 cases a year. Deciding which cases to bring before the court each year and which ones aren`t as important to hear must be a difficult and stressful task.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2017
    This film was enlightening on how the highest court of the judicial branch, and overall the branch, functions. I am captivated by how transparent and open this part of the government is, for I feel that it is the closest ordinary citizens get to feel that they can view a part of their government in its open glory. The film displayed how incredibly important and stressful a justice’s job may be, whether it be to work together to make a decision on a case or to constantly show indifference in various occasions where they must not show leaning towards one political party or another. Justices of the supreme court are members of justice and law, not a particular political party, and that is refreshingly different from the other branches of government.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2017
    Very good film. It is nice to see that the judicial branch is one that centralizes on the notion of transparency. I feel like the other branches of our government tend to shy from transparency, which can often leave the general public questioning the true intentions of the system. This film gave great insight into how the Supreme Court works, how the justices think, and how they must work together, while also staying true to their own beliefs, all in an effort to uphold the law of the land.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2017
    This was a great introductory film to the inner workings of the Supreme Court. One thing that stood out to me was when it was mentioned that the the Judicial Branch was the most transparent branch of government because they are the only one required to explain the reasoning behind their decisions. Politicians may face public pressure to explain their reasoning, but are no obliged to. This focus on logic and reason in the Supreme Court is a welcomed changed of pace from politicians who make you feel like you are talking to a used car salesman who will tell you anything you want to hear.

    I also found it interesting how it was said that the 14th amendment could be seen as the second bill of rights. The original bill of rights was used to protect individuals from abuses from the federal government and the 14th amendment has mainly been used to protect individuals from abuses of state power against individuals.

    I didn’t find this sentiment as impressive as Justice Breyer, “You’re actually living the fact that the people who wrote this document called the constitution somehow managed to produce words that actually guide us in solving problems that occurred two hundred years later.” Religious texts “managed to produce words that actually guide us in solving problems” over a far longer amount of time. Foundational texts like the constitution or the bible can be helpful or harmful depending on who is reading them and which points they are pulling out of it. Sticking too close to literal translation of these kind of documents can be an obstacle towards progress. That’s why it is important to make the point the Justice Ginsberg did, that the constitution was a living document.

    Clarence Thomas made an interesting point about how the court denying certiorari doesn’t mean that they upheld the ruling of the lower court. It made me wonder what reasons they would have to deny certiorari with a case in which they disagreed with the lower court.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2017
    This film was very enlightening on the process of Supreme Court case reviews. I realized I hardly knew the baseline of their work and how they went about it. I, as I see other students did, enjoyed Justice Ginsburg’s commentary on how the meaning of the constitution can and has changed, as she explained how different groups of people (blacks, indigenous, women, etc.) weren’t originally considered when “We the people” was written. She also mentioned the struggle of seasoned Justices when she stated “after some time it was like a walk through a patch of fresh concrete. We’d left footprints behind us as we go with some of the opinions we had written and it makes it less open to change”. My understanding of this was that upon future cases, a fear of being hypocritical could limit an evolved interpretation from being shared. This was interesting to me because she had just talked about how times have changed with her “We the people” spiel, yet goes on to say that future change can be limited to fear of challenging previous interpretations.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2017
    “…people who wrote this document called the constitution somehow managed to produce words that actually guide us in solving problems that occurred two hundred years later.”

    This stood out to me because it makes me wonder what the Framers had in mind for the future of the country when they wrote the constitution. The US Constitution is the oldest, and most other countries’ have been rewritten completely since their first constitution.

    I wonder why our Constitution means so much to us a country when other countries re-write/change theirs so often in comparison

    http://comparativeconstitutionsproject.org/chronology/
    Reply
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2017
    I like how one justice said that “being appointed to the Supreme court is akin to being struck by lightning,” and how others had a different point of view. It is indeed a great responsibility, and it comes with a lot of pressure that sometimes it is very hard to take in and get used to. I agree with what justice Anthony M. Kennedy said about how we are at an advantage because we can take our history in consideration to help us make better decisions and help us better understand the constitution. However, I do see where justice Antonin Scalia was coming from when he said knowing our history and previous experiences does not make the constitution any more clear or have a different meaning. The constitution still means what it originally meant, but now we can interpret it differently because we know more than people back then knew. I think the most important thing here is that, as justice John Paul Stevens said, they all share the same basic objective and they respect each other’s effort to try to achieve their objective.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2017
    I thought that the film was very informative for a variety of reasons. For starters, the film demonstrated how the process of a case was presented to the Supreme Court. I found this interesting because you see how much time it takes for each justice to read and write their opinion on a case. Another aspect of the film that I found informative was the interviews of each justice. By hearing the justices’ opinions on how they feel about the Supreme Court shows how important the law is to the highest court.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2017
    Justice Thomas made a very interesting point during the interviews when he mentioned that the media often reports that the Court has upheld a case decision simply by not reviewing it. Thomas points out that this is a misconception. Since the court has chosen to not review the case, there is no ruling on that case.
    Reply
    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles

    Please ask me about this in class. Thanks…
    Sep 1, 2017

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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2017
    I thought the film was very insightful and did an amazing job at showing an everyday person what the job of a Suprene Court Justice looks like. I liked that it portrayed the Justices as “normal” people with an extremely stressful job. I found particularly interesting, the part about writing an opinion and how any SC Justice can write one and try to persuade the other Justices to switch sides on the decision of a case. Overall, the film was very informative.
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    Rachel Boesch
    Rachel Boesch
    Sep 1, 2017
    I thought the film was very interesting and a great insight of the responsibilities of the Supreme Court justices. I too, along with Binjal favored the part of the film when RBG expressed her opinion on the constitution. The argument of the constitution of either being stagnant or fluid in its description as time goes on is a prominent topic in the country today. I really liked how she proclaimed that the constitution is a living document because of the changes that have happened in the representation of “we the people”. If it wasn’t for those people that went “against the constitution” as some may say, what would be of our country today?
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Aug 31, 2017
    My favorite part of the film was Justice Ginsburg’s explanation of how the constitution is a living document. She said “we the people” when the constitution was written did not include women, African Americans, or any minority group however, this is not the case today. The constitutional today must be interpreted as one that represents all groups of people. This is the central theme of discussion between justices today.

  77. Christopher Nevarez
    Aug 31, 2017
    It is very fascinating to see a film that includes all nine justices of the Court. Justices are known to be very reserved and only a handful grant interviews from time-to-time. The questions posed were also very well thought out because they were catering to a fairly ill-informed audience. The one moment that stood out the most was when the justices were asked about how the public perceived their “closed-door nature”. Justice Breyer provided a very strong rebuke to this idea. He compared the court to the U.S. Congress and proposed the idea that the Court is more open than the Congress. His reasoning stems from the need for both a decision and an opinion from the Court because as he points out, Congress does not have to outline their reasoning or even explain its own actions while the Court does so in every case. This definitely changed my perspective of the Congress, that before I saw as fairly transparent. Overall, this was a very eye-opening film.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Jun 8, 2017
    this film provided some really great insight on the day-to-day operations of the court. I find it really interesting that the public has the opportunity to sit in on an oral argument. the transparency that the court has in comparison to other branches of the government is really refreshing. like they stated in the film, “the inside story is that there is no inside story.”
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Jun 8, 2017
    The film was very informative. I did not realize that part of the process of writing the opinion and dissent was to try and persuade other judges to change their vote. It makes sense though since it gives the judges a chance to read different opinions that may bring up a perspective that previously was not discussed or not fully discussed. Despite this rarely changing the outcome of the court ruling, it is important to know that all the judges are reading each others work.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Jun 7, 2017
    It’s amazing how many petitions the Supreme Court receives every year, arriving in the thousands. Although the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power, as citizens we place a lot of faith onto these nine justices hoping they will chose the proper decision. We assume and hope they will remain impartial although that is not always the case. One speaker in the video brought up an interesting point that since they don’t have to be running for reelection and these justices don’t often seek media attention, they are able to focus on their jobs a lot more than the typical politician would. I do find it very interesting how the video pointed out that we only see the end of these cases and the results. But throughout the process these judges are said to be working quite strenuously and have very busy schedules. I am also putting it on my list to go visit the Supreme Court building, I do think it’s cool that around 2,500 people a day, go to visit that building.
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    Lukas Kirliauskas
    Lukas Kirliauskas
    Jun 7, 2017
    Thought the film was interesting, however I do not agree with statements like “the Supreme Court cannot avoid controversy” when they often do so by ignoring controversial acts of congress such as The War Powers Resolution. I also did not like the notion that the film/Justices often repeated, the idea that it is a level playing field for a prisoner vs a top legal firm/president in trying to get their case accepted by the Supreme Court. However, I found the insight on the Justices everyday work schedule interesting, as it shows that they are just humans that are doing their jobs like everybody else. I also found it compelling that the Justices of today give a lot of credit to their predecessors.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Jun 7, 2017
    I really liked this video. It gave us insight on what the court does and how they interact. This video makes the court a little less mystical and shows small parts of all the work that the court does.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Jun 7, 2017
    I find it very interesting to be able to see the court and justices insights on the process it takes to be able to receive/hear cases but also place opinions. I find it intriguing that the press even takes place in reading court opinions at such a quick/fast manner to be able to put information out to the public. I believe this may leave some room for some of the opinions to be construed due to the quick manner in which reporters are trying to put information out without having time to properly analyze and reflect on them. I enjoyed how the justices were paced in the same table together which allowed to see who they all interest together in the same room and table. I find it compelling that they are able to respect each others faith in making opinions one cases, and even “shaking hands” as a way to maintain a sense of respect. I also enjoyed when the justices discussed how “open” the court is and they fully believed that there is no “inside story” as Justice Kennedy said but its “simply people thinking”. The openness of the court and the way all the justices were able to readily agree with his statement is very compelling. Lastly, I appreciated the manner in which the film was organized to get a better understanding that the court taking us through the appointment of a justice through the process of cases and even having a visual perspective on the process I believe adds the level of beauty to the court that cannot be otherwise envisioned without the film.
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    Patrick Scaletta
    Patrick Scaletta
    Jun 6, 2017
    I found the C-Span video informative. The Court receives one hundred or more petitions per week for review, amounting to over 7,000 per year. The Justices meet weekly to discuss the petitions they have individually reviewed then vote as a group which cases the Justices will hear. Opinion writing is regarded as the most time consuming responsibility of the Court, as Opinions are often edited numerous times and are finalized several months from the time they are first drafted. The Justices were quick to confront the notion of secrecy members of the general public often hold regarding the decisions of the Court. The Justices argued the only secret of the Court is that there is no secret. The reasons which support the Court’s decisions, are outlined in their opinions. The Justices noted a significant difference between legislatures who do not have to disclose their reasoning and the work the Justices produce which clearly outline their reasoning. During oral arguments, Justices ask questions of the attorneys representing each party. To the lay person, it would appear that the Justice posing the question may be personally seeking the answer but many of the questions that are asked, are actually used to elicit answers which may sway the position held by a Justice of a different viewpoint. Justice David Souter reports that each Justice actually begins doing their work properly when they are able to forget they are actually members of the Court. I believe Justice Souter essentially said that when a Justice can overlook political pressures, the media and other outside influences, they are then able to produce their best work.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 9, 2016
    This video on the Supreme Court shed light in some of its inner workings. Particularly interesting to me was the way that each justice seems to build off of each others ideas, even while in the interviews. For example, Scalia began discussing his opinion on constitutional interpretation, he opined that the constitution is meant to be interpreted the very same way at it originally was; whereas Ginsburg showed no hesitance to rebut this more traditional manner of constitutional interpretation, citing the ever changing world in which we live and how it connects to the constitution itself, including its amendments over the years.

    This shows to me as well that the justices are not afraid to speak their mind, yet at the same time, they show a great deal of mutual respect for one another, because they recognize that ultimately what they are trying to do is to deliver justice. This is a more mature way of engaging in discourse of any kind which is oftentimes difficult to spot when viewing the course of dialogue among Congress or between Congress and the President which tends to show heated partisanship and a lack of willingness to have a proper conversation. Whatever the reasons, the justices in the Supreme Court have a great mindset for what they do, and I hope that it stays that way and that their work can be viewed as something of a model to the other branches of government for discourse.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 9, 2016
    Without a doubt, the main purpose of the Supreme Court’s visitors film was fulfilled. The film was keenly insightful on matters that the general public seldom has access to. A. E. Dick Howard mentioned an aspect of the court that I find is rarely talked about and very interesting; the court’s “mystique”. Most people find public orating and debating abstract thought to be difficult and intimidating. The film really stresses the value of the oral argument and goes on to explain the misconceptions that people usually have on what the oral argument portion really is. Burt Neuborne describes the juggling act that an attorney must perform in order to balance the multiple lines of thought going around the room. In particular, the notion that each justice uses the attorney (as a “mailbox”) to talk to each other by asking questions is absolutely fascinating and a function of the oral argument that I never thought of. I must disagree with Justice Kennedy who assert the notion that “there is no inside story”. Despite the fact that the Justices are allowed to write opinions and trials are heard in an intimate but public setting, there is still so much that occurs behind closed doors. The most important of those proceedings is the denial or granting of petitions for certiorari. It seems to me, that the film is wrong in concluding that the court must “sooner or later” address matters that are boiling up in the country. I think the court’s incredible amount of discretion in this matter allows the court to constantly evade a certain issue that could cause a political shock wave or influence the public’s perception of the court. And I think despite the fact that denying certiorari does not implicitly affirm the lower courts decision, it does however; deny that person another chance at justice by the most powerful judicial body in the world. Finally, I did not expect to be so entertained by getting a peek at each justice’s personality and dynamic between each other.
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    James Betzelos
    James Betzelos
    Sep 8, 2016
    I found this film very interesting. One thing that struck me was the irony behind the words “We the people…” of the Consitution due to the fact that the people writing it at the time were white men and were referring to a very small group of people not all people. However, today, those same words are suppose to actually mean all people. I also thought it was very interesting that the Supreme Court does not have to present their reasoning on declining a writ of cert. This makes me feel as if there is some type of corruption within the judicial system, even though they claim “there is no inside story.”
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    Demitri Kladis
    Demitri Kladis
    Sep 8, 2016
    History has always been a subject of interest for me, and I for one personally love how the Supreme Court really uses history as another tool other than the constituion itself. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy states how “we have an advantage that John Marshall did not, we have 200 years of history, of detachment in which we can see the folley of some ideas and the wisdom of others.” It just puts several things into perspective; how important history really is, and what we want to understand has already occurred at a previous time. Another thing to put into perspective is just how brilliant of a justice John Marshall really was. Without a significant amount of past cases as controversial and closely similar to Marbury v. Madison, he was able to use powers that the judicial branch had truly never used. Beyond remarkable in my opinion and really stood out in my mind while watching the rest of the video, as it continued to place great emphasis on history. (Pardon the late response)
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 8, 2016
    My apologies for the late comment. I am now authorized to comment on this segment.

    The video presented me with a fresh perspective of oral argument at the highest level that I had not been particularly aware of before this course. The Justices mentioned that the utility of oral argument is to ask questions or discuss ideas brought about by the brief. Justice Stevens also remarks that questions can be a tool for Justices to bring to attention certain ideas or perspectives that they feel are worthy of bringing to the attention of their colleagues via proxy of the attorney.

    It was entertaining to see a brief discussion of constitutional interpretive philosophy in the beginning of the film which displayed a kernel of the philosophical and oratory mastery that Scalia was known for, followed up by a strong, revisionist/activist dissent by Justice Ginsburg that reminded her colleagues who exactly was all included in “We the People” upon the initial founding of this nation.

    It was also interesting hearing the idea that Justices are insulated from the political process, as they are an entity not effected by the ballot, their having to run for re-election, etc.

    This foundation has endured a bit of turbulence as of late, though. The Biden Rule as currently posited by Senate Republicans makes people believe that they can have a say in who Scalia’s successor will be via voting for the next President, instead of the Senate confirming or denying the appointment of the Judge (Garland) that Obama has already nominated.
    Reply
    Arianna Brown
    Arianna Brown
    Sep 6, 2016
    I thought this film was interesting as it provided an in-depth look inside the Supreme Court. It is astonishing to me how much pressure must be on the lawyers arguing a case, as they have the harrowing experience of being before not one or two, but nine judges. It was also interesting to learn about the process of how the justices reach an opinion, specifically the opinion-writing process. I did not realize how many times an opinion may be redrafted, or that it could take months for an opinion to be finalized.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 6, 2016
    I thought it was incredibly interesting to hear what Justice Ginsburg had to say about presenting an oral argument before the Court. Typically, when people talk about what was decided in a case, they refer to the published Opinion and not the actual conversation had between the justices and attorneys. This part of the film also highlighted the complexity of the cases the Court hears. Of every case petitioned to the Court, only a small percentage of those get the chance to present a 30 minute oral argument before the Court. Within that time an attorney not only has to argue a controversial case, but he or she also has to field questions from the nine most high-ranking judges in the US. With SCOTUS being the Court of last resort, clarifying any issues from the briefs is crucial for any attorney hoping to have a previous ruling overturned or upheld.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 6, 2016
    I think this film is interesting as it introduces how exactly the Court works and gives us a sense as to how the justices decide which cases are heard and what exactly happens in there. It is important for us to be able to understand the process in order to put into perspective how difficult it is to be in position of making decisions. I like that we see some of the justices actually speaking out of court room as it gives us an idea of who they actually are, rather than simply reading their names case after case.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 3, 2016
    Although I was aware of the fact that the judicial process is lengthy and detailed, I did not realize that for each case differed so greatly when it came to presenting opinions. The length of a case is dependent on the root ideologies and beliefs of the nine justices at hand. This being said, the consensus of a case is entirely determined by the ideas of the justices. In addition to this, I found it interesting how the justices attempt to bring their opinions to light in the eyes of the other justices by asking questions which discreetly support their ideas. My favorite quote from this video was how there are three types of arguments: the argument you prepared, the argument you gave, and the argument you wish you gave. I also enjoyed the bit which supported oral argumentation. Oral argumentation allows for the use of rhetoric which can be often more difficult to achieve by written word.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2016
    Apologies for the late comments. I found it eye-opening when Professor Howard pointed out that Supreme Court justices don’t have to worry about campaigning and getting re-elected. They are not necessarily shielded from the public eye and political context of the time in which they serve, but this is a significant point that differentiates Supreme Court justices from the president or Congress. Additionally, it is almost overwhelming to think about the system of checks and balances in terms of a president being elected to office, then appointing a Supreme Court justice that is confirmed by the (elected) Senate etc. Finally, (personally), it is always surprising to watch the Justices have a more relaxed conversation. Political figures are often revered as superhuman, so it easy to forget that they are average people (who have lots of qualifications and a high position of power).
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2016
    I find it interesting that Supreme Court justices are appointed by presidents in their attempt to shape the court; yet, justices assert their opinions without any ties. Justice Stephen Breyer states that justices are “responsible to the law, institution their own conscience.” The confirmation of justices gives them the freedom to do as they like so long as they follow through with good behavior. The system offers the Judicial Branch extreme freedom in comparison to the other branches. Interestingly enough, with the great power that they do have, it is ultimately up to the institution and the people to understand and follow through with judicial decisions.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2016
    I was surprised by the unique dynamic that occurs between the Supreme Court justices during case arguments. The video mentioned how these case arguments are utilized as a medium for discussion between the nine justices via the litigator present rather than what a typical court case seems at face value. According to the video, the justices will ask the litigator specific questions as a form of communication and expression of ideas to the other justices on the bench, and I find that form of methodical dialogue to be riveting and something I was not cognizant of prior to watching the video.
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    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles

    great comment…
    Sep 3, 2016

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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2016
    I enjoyed Justice Kennedy’s take on the value of having a case history of over 200 years. He asserted that having such a long history allows the Court to “see the folly of some ideas, the wisdom of others.” His words show how the Court is willing to adhere to stare decisis, but at the same time is not entirely bound by it. For me, this demonstrates a fluidity of the Court that is not oftentimes attributed to it. Also, to call upon my older comment, I was once again amazed by the amount of respect the justices show each other (e.g., shaking each others hands before commencing conference, allowing everyone to speak once before someone speaks twice). Based on the video at least, it appeared that the justices may differ in ideology, but they do not let those differences get in the way of the shared goal of adjudicating the cases correctly and fairly.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 8, 2015
    I was interested in Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s response to the question of whether the Courts denial of certiorari is an implicit affirmation of the lower courts result. Her response asserting that it was not since the denial has no “precedential value” seems to be a distinction without difference. Precedent in the Supreme Court of the United States is only powerful in its creation not in its absence. While a lack of precedent has its advantages the vacuum left by the uncertainty still only benefits the winning side of the lower court’s winning side. In addition, the lack of clarity is only powerful in allowing the court to hear the case in the future. Therefore, it seems that the vacuum of “precedential value” is an implied affirmation for the immediate future which creates social precedent that then becomes hard to overcome even if the issue is theoretically capable of being looked at by the court in the future.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 7, 2015
    I am fascinated by how the Supreme Court has build up its reputation and can have rulings that are listened to without any enforcement power. One thing from the video that I didn’t realize was how long a process it is to make an opinion of the Court. Although there is a profound ideological divide between most of the justices, the video made it seem as if it doesn’t really impact the working relationships of the body. I suppose that with such a heavy work load and the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Court the justices try hard to keep things working between one another. It was also really interesting to hear Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s perspective of coming to the Court for many cases before becoming a Supreme Court justice.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 6, 2015
    Okay so here me out. I believe that there is a slight correlation between Queen Elizabeth II and the Supreme Court. Both have forged a verbal agreement with their respective governments on how they will wield power in present day society. The main similarity between the british monarchy and the Supreme Court is both have been very creative and taking and preserving great power; it was not given instead both groups manage to take and keep power. When thinking of tools created by the supreme court to wield power Chief Justice Marshall creation of Judicial Review is the one that comes to mind. Now continuing with the idea of similarities between the two groups, creative power, or the ability to define and redefine the power you hold with your own voice as absolute authority can be difficult to manage. There are countless headless British Kings as evidence to the fact. So with creative power comes the real need to not only be creative in your authority but you must also be calculating because both groups are simple minority controlling the majority with only their opinions. Now in my opinion this is why the Supreme Court stuck down the Dread Scott case because to rule in Scott’s favor would be to end slavery, which at the time was a high profit industry for many people. One or a group of people who claim authority on their own without the constitution needs something or someone to validate their opinions in someway. If the court knows somehow the country is not ready or willing they will keep just as quite so in that sense while their power maybe abstract and allows them to be creative with tools utilized, I come to the understanding that abstract power is not the most powerful form of power. On the other hand defined power, clear with a universal authority that everyone can recognize, for example the power of a President. Because, her authority has greater legitimacy the president could take more risk when inflicting her will onto the people. So that was my far out thinking? Thanks
    Brian W
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 5, 2015
    It is fascinating to see the perspective of the Justices and the amount of work they spend on the cases. Each has their own opinions and interpretations of the constitution, but in the end decide based on which precedent they will leave for future cases. This video puts to the test that the time deciding cases that will be seen and even more taken into consideration depends on the importance of the agenda that the Supreme Court has in place, but this also demonstrates the importance they have in the U.S. Without the Supreme Court the legal system would not be what it is today.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 4, 2015
    I found the film quite interesting in that it not only shed light on a different aspect of the Supreme Court I have not seen before, but reaffirmed some things I new initially. When Justice Ginsburg answered questions about what its like to be on the other side standing before the court, I was very intrigued. The task seems almost daunting, standing before a group of nine individuals many of which have differing opinions on the law is quite awe inspiring. It is very much a important aspect of the court that is sometimes taking for granted. The justices are people with opinions just like everyone else they are not omniscient. They represent an integral aspect of our legal system and their job requires careful delineation of interpretation of the law and intent. Watching the film really puts quite a perspective on the big picture of their jobs overall.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 3, 2015
    Learning about the US Supreme Court has always been fascinating to me. When studying case after case, ruling after ruling, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that these 9 justices are actual people rather then just “disembodied spirits”. It never ceases to amaze me the incredible amount of power that each of these justices have. The film allows you to catch a glimpse of the personalities behind the justices, which is something that I was interested in learning more about. Something Justice O’Conner said that stuck with me regarding the difficulties that each justice faces was “Over time, it is as if we walked through a patch of fresh concrete. We’ve left footprints behind us as we go with some of the opinions we have written, and then it becomes less open to change.”
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  78. Marisol Campos
    Sep 3, 2015
    The film was interesting in that it provided me a different prospecitce of the SC. In the past, I admit to having a biased opinion regarding their capabilities. It is reassuring to see that they take each issue with the upmost rresponsibility and education needed to have a decision for each issue. The interviews with judges allowed me to have insight on the proceedings that might happen when court is in session. A few judges had different techniques is viewing a case, i find it to be a positive aspect of the SC because it allows for better room for interpretation which can cover some if not all loopholes a case decision might have. Although it seems that the SC handles the workload well, i wonder how different the function of the SC wpuld be if they met more often throughout the year. Would more cases be handled? Would the SC dedicate more time towards each case?
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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 3, 2015
    I found many aspects of the video very interesting. One thing that struck me was the statement by A.E. Dick Howard, saying that the 14th amendment is like the second Bill of Rights. After taking 356 and 358, many of the cases asked whether certain laws violated the due process or equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment. I do feel like due process and equal protection are just as important as freedom of religion or the right to bear arms, etc.

    I loved what Justice Ginsberg stated when they were discussing interpreting the Constitution. Justice Scalia stated that he believes that the Constitution means anything different on what it meant when it was first drafted. Justice Ginsburg says that we don’t have the same Constitution. “We the People” over 200 years ago consisted of a very small population of the US and now, the people that were not included or did not have rights in the 18th century, have rights now. The amendments of the Constitution that expands the rights the people who were not given rights when the Constitution was first drafted shows that it is a living document.

    I’m not sure on what to think about the process and the reasons the Court may deny a writ of certiorari. On one hand, I do believe that denying to hear a case doesn’t not imply that the Court agrees with the lower court’s ruling. On the other hand, the Court does not choose what issues or problems they are to deal with. The cases have to be presented before them, but if they deny writ to something, it seems as if it they are allowing that they are agreeing with how things are instead of dealing with or deciding on it. An example of this that is often used in class is gay marriage. It is not a new problem, the Court just decided to hear it recently. This can imply that maybe the Court was complacent or agreed with the gay marriage laws of the country.

    Tierra Bradford- Team 3
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 3, 2015
    Justice Breyer dismisses the notion of an inner story to the Court and argues that its extent is laid out in its opinions. I think that to describe the process in which the Court decides the cases it will hear (which highlights the third source of jurisdiction discussed) as a group of people in a room merely “thinking,” is to ignore how internal limits such as the “political question doctrine” have been used “as a shield” by the Court.

    As Colgrove v. Green held that issues of legislative apportionment in states involving redistricting which were racially discriminatory was a matter not enforceable by the courts through judicial action, this “political” classification continued until Baker v. Carr in which the redistricting of state legislative districts was ruled as justiciable by the federal courts. In the context of the two cases presented, it is clear that the Court has significant discretion regarding the cases it chooses to hear and what it deems justiciable. As the Court in effect wiped its hands of the issue, in eventually reversing itself its shown that the Court does indeed have an inner story that is interrelated with experiences of discrimination that include, but are not limited to race and gender. This demonstrates the influence of behavioral jurisprudence and that the process in which the Court interprets its own jurisdiction serves as a distinct source of information in itself.

    Thomas Delregno – Team 4
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2015
    The opinions of the justices were really interesting. There was a view that the U.S. Constitution has advantages and disadvantages, which is apparent with the components that are clear and then with others that are vague and end up producing never-ending debates. One opinion caught my attention and it was from Justice Antonin Scalia who said there is a difference in interpretive philosophy regarding the Constitution. From that I see why complications have arisen considering you have judicial leaders interpreting a component in the Constitution a certain way one century and that same component is contrary to another justice’s view one century later. The overall environment of the justices is one I’ve never really considered, but this video scrutinized details on how these judicial go about handling their positions of power. It was good to be able to actually view the opinions of the justices. In their case, it shouldn’t be a matter of catering to any specific group on a decision. It’s a matter of using law as your only guide when making a decision that impacts the nation as a whole. At least, that’s how it should be.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2015
    I truly hope that the way the justices carried themselves in this video speaks for most justices appointed to the position. After studying the judicial process in previous courses I started to get the opinion that politics was flooding our highest court. Although it is still very likely that each judge has their own agenda and goals during their time in office, this video was reassuring in the sense that each judge understood what kind of influence they possess and that when it comes down to it, they act responsibly in the best interest of not only the court, but for the American people, as opposed to themselves. As the video mentioned several times, their power truly lies within the trust of the people, and it is pretty amazing at how delicate this is. I am quite intrigued at the idea of what would happen if the people lost that trust (whether in general or on a case by case basis) and the executive branch refused to enforce any particular ruling.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2015
    This was a very educational video and in a sense gave “life to the statutes” of the Supreme Court, as one of the callers underlined. It was interesting to see the amount of work that the justices actually do as they gave equal attention to each petition for Writ of Certiorari. Their job is truly remarkable especially if you take into consideration the size of the country and the fact that each justice is assisted by a small staff of clerks. Supreme Court can have a huge impact on everyday American life and its real power is granted from the people as they have faith in its decisions. The life tenure, good payment, and the liberty to take decisions based on their personal viewpoints (and not on the President’s that appointed them) embrace the power of the justices to act based on the constitution. A question that I have is: What are the “Opinions” that they publish at the end of each term and do they include any answer to why the justices denied to review some cases?
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user

    Actually, in the chapter “Why and How to Brief a Case”, is stated that the written opinions are the primary and authoritative source material of judicial policy making and certainly do not include justices’ opinion about cases.
    Sep 2, 2015

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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2015
    The film was an eye-opener in terms of seeing how much power SCOTUS has – especially when you take into account all the aspects of law: civil rights, taxes, business, labor, etc. As the film points out, millions of Americans are affected by what decisions these nine justices do. I liked Ruth Ginsburg’s quote, “Our Constitution embraces today, although it didn’t at the start…” I think that was a really powerful quote from her. I respected her before, but even more now for acknowledging and hinting that the Constitution is not literal and one cannot ignorantly believe it embodies all the rights from the start of its birth.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2015
    I was really hoping for more from the caller from Naperville, IL. At any rate, AE Howard briefly discussing the possibility of an amendment being viewed as “unconstitutional” was interesting. He pointed out that it was purely an academic discussion, but then again, a good chunk of what discussing law entails is academic by nature. My gut tells me that it wouldn’t be possible, but I’m not sure which strains of thinking lead to a resolution on the matter to begin with.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2015
    One of the most striking things was the amount of respect the justices say that they show each other. For example, they make sure to shake hands prior to every meeting and let everyone speak once before someone speaks twice. To me, this showed that the justices really do their best to act as one, and not to let their respective opinion overtake the greater good of what the Court sets out to do. Another thing I found interesting was one of the guest’s (I believe he was a Professor from NYU Law) points on how oral arguments take place. Rather than being beholden to one judge, litigants often have to simultaneously juggle 3-4 lines of thought during the process–which seems quite intimidating.
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    Maria E
    Maria E
    Sep 2, 2015
    It is a real eye opener to see that these justices spend so much time reading over soo many cases but, can’t say how they decline a writ of cert. I honestly can not see how the stream of logic here when it comes to that and, not being accountable for that action. It was interesting to see how each justice spoke about the power of which they feel when they talk about their opinions/ arguments for cases.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2015
    I find it very interesting and disturbing that the Supreme Court does not publish their reasons for declining a writ of cert. The judges in the video made it seem as if it isn’t sketchy to not publish their reasoning behind not granting a writ of cert and by not publishing the facts of the case. They said ” there is no inside story it is simply people thinking.” I completely disagree and believe that not requiring the Supreme Court to publish their reasons why they did not grant a writ of cert and not requiring them to publish the facts of the case, is opening a gateway for judicial corruption and allows for politics to infiltrate our justice system.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2015
    This was a great look into the SCOTUS and into the lives of the justices. Justice Ginsberg is such a boss in this, how can you not love her!

    A quote from Justice Breyer stuck with me throughout the film – “A judiciary, a court, has no secrets because it’s all out there in the opinion. And the inside story of the court, is there is no inside story. It’s simply people thinking.”

    Joe Anderson – Team 4
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2015
    I found that this video was very interesting in which instead of giving a history lesson of the SC they gave a more behind the scenes look at how the SC works. I really like how they actually showed SC justices at the time. It was nice getting their own opinion and hearing what they had to say about the SC. One part of the video that stood out to me was at about 11:30 minutes in which Professor Dick Howard stated that the 14th Amendment is considered to be a second Bill of Rights. This “second Bill of Rights” is meant to protect the individual from the power of the states. Another part I found interesting is when the video mentioned that the SC lets the issue or problems come to them. Overall, the SC is a very crucial component to our government. I personally believe the SC has a great responsibility because the people do not have a sayid vote to iwho gets appointed to the SC rather they rely solely on trust to ensure that the SC interprets the law in the way that benefits the utility of the people.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2015
    It was very interesting to see the role of justices and their place in government/society from their (justices) perspective. I sometimes feel as though we see the supreme court as hearing or not hearing a case, as giving or not giving a decision, rather than considering the discussion and intermediate work that plays into every court decision. The video mentioned that justices serve for an average of 16 years, and more than half end up serving twice that amount. From the perspective of a justice, it is not just any job. They are essentially agreeing to not only a job where they are perhaps open to criticism on every ground, but they are also agreeing to serve on the court for what is left of their working years. Interestingly, Marshall’s court earned the court much of the respect it retains today. I find it difficult to consider a Supreme Court that isn’t respected. I feel this is primarily because the age we live in, is one where the court has typically been held in the highest regard.
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    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles

    this is a great comment. I hope you will take 358 to explore further the notion of “respect for the court.”
    Sep 2, 2015

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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2015
    I have actually visited the Supreme Court building in D.C. It is an intimidating experience but also a very powerful experience. If you ever find yourself in the D.C. area it is a place you should see. With that being said, I thought this video did a good job of showing the process involved in a Supreme Court decision. It was also refreshing to see how the justices work behind the scenes. In a way, it made each of the justices seem more of a real person rather than an author we have read a 100 times. I thought it was interesting how the video described the legitimacy and the power of the Court. It was stated that ” The Court’s legitimacy comes from the Constitution but their power rest on public faith in their independence and impartiality”. I believe that public faith in regards to impartiality is an important characteristic of the Court. The fact that the Court has powers such as judicial review and statutory interpretation force this nation and its people to have faith in the Court; faith in the fact that the Court will remain impartial. It has been seen throughout history that various Presidents and political affiliations have done their best to influence and in essence control the Court. It was even stated in the video that Presidents have always tried to shape the court through their nominations. These factors alone force the public to have faith in the Court and faith in their impartiality.

    Side note: I thought it was intriguing how the video described the Dred Scott decision, “It was the Supreme Court’s greatest self-inflicted wound”.
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    Kevin Lyles
    Kevin Lyles

    we will cover Dred Scott in great detail in 358
    Sep 2, 2015

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    Kevin Lyles
    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2014
    I now feel like I can grasp the way the supreme court functions. I appreciated the justices sitting down to reflect on their experiences and feelings that they have had while serving. I have a greater respect for them and the system that is in place. I can not imagine writing my reasons for voting the way I did for months. It seems exhausting.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 2, 2014
    I found the film helpful in me understanding more about the basics of the supreme court works. It also is interesting that even though the film is almost 20 years old, not much has changed in the way the system works.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2014
    I believe that the video poses an important point regarding the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law with a 200 year old document. I do agree that the interpretation of the Constitution has changed over time, considering the sentiments of the justices are exposed to more media and popular opinion.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2014
    This video was very encouraging. It illustrates that the Supreme Court is the “voice of reason” for our country. Specifically, hearing the Justices talk about how it is their duty to not listlessly read through case briefs, but instead to filter through them and devote their attention to the issues of great national magnitude is profoundly significant. It is with this appropriately narrow scope that the Court is able to apply the Constitution to the lives of ordinary people who believe that the verdict of their trial was not in line with the law of our land. I genuinely believe that the Court is a distinguishing feature of this great country. As stated early on in the film, the Supreme Court is the most powerful judicial body in the world. This makes me feel that, no matter how inept our two other branches of government may become, the Supreme Court will remain a constant voice of reason that will prevent our country from carrying out injustices in all fields of law (criminal, business, family, etc.) because the Justices are not influenced by outside opinions, no matter whose opinions they are.
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    Jauwan Hall
    Jauwan Hall
    Sep 1, 2014
    I believe Justice Ginsburg’s comments in regard to the Constitution of today being different from the original Constitution, and how today’s Constitution includes those who were not apart of “We the People”, when the Constitution was first written is profound. It really speaks to how the Constitution is ever changing and can be interpreted to reflect popular beliefs of people today. I believe a liberal interpretation of the Constitution allows our society to progress.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user

    I think that a “liberal” interpretation of the Constitution is the only way for our nation’s scripture to be interpreted. This is why the Constitution is written in a vague way. If taken in its original context, the Constitution only granted the Bill of Rights to white land-owning men. Because of this, I agree that a liberal interpretation is necessary for us to progress, but I also believe that the same liberal interpretation was the original intention of the Founders. Regardless of their intent, however, our current American culture could not exist if the Constitution was never amended to guarantee the protection of civil rights for all people.
    Sep 1, 2014

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    Kevin Lyles
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    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2014
    Justice Scalia brought up an interesting point. The Supreme Court is dealing with a document that is two hundred years old. The job of the Supreme Court now is to take the meaning of the Constitution written two hundred years ago and apply it accordingly to the world as we know it today. That’s not an easy task and watching this video made me take a step back and think about the amount of pressure the Justice’s must be under every time they try to interpret the Constitution in a way that applies to instances that were not a possibility when it was written. The video was an overall interesting video to watch to think about the job of the Supreme Court and just how difficult it is to do what they do.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2014
    I thought the film was helpful. To me what was most interesting was the connection between a Justice’s impartiality and the fact that they are not elected and serve for life. It’s interesting that the position is set up that way. I think the film also emphasized the importance of the media for the supreme court, because they relay the information since the position is far removed from the public.
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2014
    I found the Supreme Court Visitors film very informative. What has me thinking now is the question from Lincolnton, North Carolina, “is it possible for the court to declare a new constitutional amendment, unconstitutional?”
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    Deleted user
    Deleted user
    Sep 1, 2014
    The Supreme Court Visitors film was interesting to watching. From the video, I caught how “We the people” has changed from it’s time and now includes everyone while at the time that stated, it didn’t exactly include everyone. I had never really thought about it that way and it was interesting to see it stated from one of the justices. What was also interesting to watch in the film was how everything actually works out for the justices; things that aren’t actually seen by everybody.
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