The Supreme Court is important because once it reaches a ruling on a case, all other courts in the United States must follow this precedent. The Supreme Court was established by the U.S. Constitution in order to balance out the legislative and executive branches of government and it has has final say over any legal disputes. While the Constitution is the source of the Supreme Court's power, this power was only vaguely defined until the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison. Before this case, it was Congress that decided the scope of the Supreme Court's influence. Justice John Marshall's ruling in Marbury v. Madison established the Supreme Court's authority to be the final arbiter of all constitutional issues. Despite its importance, the Supreme Court hears only approximately 150 cases a year. For a case to be heard by the Supreme Court, it must raise vital constitutional issues.
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