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What is the purpose of the judicial branch?

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Quick Answer

The judicial branch determines the constitutionality of the law as it pertains to specific cases. It does not issue general opinions on the law or enforce it; rather, individuals must prove that they have been harmed by the law before they can bring a case before the judicial branch. In many jurisdictions, the judicial branch has the power to change laws through the process of judicial review.

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What is the purpose of the judicial branch?
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Full Answer

The federal judiciary is one of the three branches of government required by the Constitution; the executive and legislative branches are the other two. Article III of the Constitution requires the creation of the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, and it also gives Congress the authority to establish courts that fall beneath the Supreme Court's power. Consequently, Congress created United States district courts, which try the majority of federal cases, and 13 U.S. courts of appeals.

To keep them from being affected by public opinion, members of the judicial branch are not elected, but serve until retirement or death. The president of the United States appoints its members, and the Senate confirms them. They can only be removed upon legislative action by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

The lower courts must adhere to the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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