How is the Supreme Court Arranged?
The Role of Congress
- The Constitution gives Congress the power to decide the size of the Supreme Court and make other decisions about the way it functions. In 2010, nine justices were on the court -- eight associate justices and one chief justice. Congress has given the Supreme Court jurisdiction over federal appellate cases in addition to other rare circumstances outlined in the Constitution.
- The justices determine which cases will be heard. Ten thousand cases are filed each year, but only a fraction of these are heard by the Supreme Court. Most are appellate cases that have some bearing on the Constitution or federal law.