Английский язык. Учебное пособие. Бабушкин А.П - 1 стр.


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Courts and the judicial process usually bring to mind a picture of a judge,
draped in a black robe, overseeing a trial. When a judge enters a courtroom, everyone
rises and stands quietly until he or she sits behind the elevated bench and raps the
gavel to start the proceedings. In courts composed of a number of members, it is
common for judges to march in together quickly as if choreographed on cue to take
their seats in a flourish of flowing robes. Loud talking or even whispering among
court spectators is not permitted. At the U. S. Supreme Court severe-looking ushers
holding long sticks roam the aisles, and they poke these sticks at individuals who talk
too loudly or distract others from focusing on the front of the large courtroom. Called
the Marble Palace,” the U. S. Supreme Court building is very ornate, with high
ceilings and decorated walls, polished floors, and long benches that resemble pews in
a church. Reverence and respect are expected and enforced. Other courtrooms are
less magnificent, but the floor plan, furniture arrangement, and the judge raised above
everyone else are similar and clearly show who is in charge and what goes on.
The Supreme Court consists of a chief justice and eight associate justices, and
the responsibility and power of these nine people are extraordinary. Supreme Court
decisions can affect the lives of all Americans and can change society significantly.
This has happened many times in the course of American history. In the past,
Supreme Court rulings have halted actions by American presidents, have declared
unconstitutional - and therefore void - laws passed by the Congress, have freed
people from prisons and have given new protection to black Americans and other
The Supreme Court is the court of final appeal and it rules in cases in which
someone claims that a lower court ruling is unjust or there has been a violation of the
United States Constitution.
There are many federal courts in the system which has the Supreme Court as its
head. In addition each state within the United States has established a system of
courts, including a state supreme court, to deal with civil, criminal and appellate
proceedings. There are also county and city courts. Even many of the smallest
villages, those in which only a few hundred people live, have a local judge, called a
justice of the peace”, who handles minor legal matters. There are other specialized
courts to handle matters ranging from tax questions to immigration violations.
The potential for conflict within the society is still great, and it is no surprise
that there are more than 542,000 lawyers in the United States and hundreds of
thousands of court workers.
Many cases that come before the Supreme Court involve charges that the
police or a judge has violated the rights of a person accused of a crime. It doesn’t
matter whether the person actually committed the crime or not; the Supreme Court