Section 5: Judicial Branch

Supreme Court building,Washington, D.C.

Figure 12. U.S. Supreme Court building, Washington, D.C. This building is the headquarters of the United States Supreme Court. (University of Tennessee)

The judicial branch of the U.S. government is composed of the court system. The purpose of courts is to decide what people’s rights are according to law. Courts explain what laws mean and also decide if laws are being broken.

The highest court of the nation is called the United States Supreme Court. It is made up of nine judges called “justices.” It is the responsibility of the Supreme Court to interpret, or explain, the law according to the Constitution. Decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court are the “supreme law of the land.”