What is Supreme Court?

Legal Definition
A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, apex court, and highest court of appeal. Broadly speaking, the decisions of a supreme court are not subject to further review by any other court. Supreme courts typically function primarily as appellate courts, hearing appeals from decisions of lower trial courts, or from intermediate-level appellate courts.

However, not all highest courts are named as such. Civil law states tend not to have a single highest court. Additionally, the highest court in some jurisdictions is not named the "Supreme Court", for example, the High Court of Australia; this is because decisions by the High Court could formerly be appealed to the Privy Council. On the other hand, in some places the court named the "Supreme Court" is not in fact the highest court; examples include the New York Supreme Court, the Supreme Courts of several Canadian provinces/territories and the former Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales, which are all subordinate to higher courts of appeal.

Some countries have multiple "supreme courts" whose respective jurisdictions have different geographical extents, or which are restricted to particular areas of law. In particular, countries with a federal system of government typically have both a federal supreme court (such as the Supreme Court of the United States), and supreme courts for each member state (such as the Supreme Court of Nevada), with the former having jurisdiction over the latter only to the extent that the federal constitution extends federal law over state law. Jurisdictions with a civil law system often have a hierarchy of administrative courts separate from the ordinary courts, headed by a supreme administrative court as is the case in the Netherlands. A number of jurisdictions also maintain a separate constitutional court (first developed in the Czechoslovak Constitution of 1920), such as Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and South Africa. Within the former British Empire, the highest court within a colony was often called the "Supreme Court", even though appeals could be made from that court to the United Kingdom's Privy Council (based in London). A number of Commonwealth jurisdictions retain this system, but many others have reconstituted their own highest court as a court of last resort, with the right of appeal to the Privy Council being abolished.

In jurisdictions using a common law system, the doctrine of stare decisis applies, whereby the principles applied by the supreme court in its decisions are binding upon all lower courts; this is intended to apply a uniform interpretation and implementation of the law. In civil law jurisdictions the doctrine of stare decisis is not generally considered to apply, so the decisions of the supreme court are not necessarily binding beyond the immediate case before it; however, in practice the decisions of the supreme court usually provide a very strong precedent, or jurisprudence constante, for both itself and all lower courts.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
1. The highest court in a jurisdiction (e.g., Supreme Court of the United States or Supreme Court of California).

2. A lower court in a jurisdiction, whose name is a product of history and not indicative of any higher appellate power. (e.g., Kings County Supreme Court in Brooklyn, New York).
Legal Definition
The court of the highest jurisdiction in the United States, having appellate jurisdiction over all the other courts of the United. States, is so called. Its powers are examined under the article Courts of the United States.

2. The following list of the judges who have had seats on the bench of this court is given for the purpose of reference.

Chief Justices. John Jay, appointed September 26, 1789, resigned in 1795.

John Rutledge, appointed July 1, 1795, resigned in 1796.

Oliver Ellsworth, appointed March 4, 1796, resigned in 1801.

John Marshall, appointed January 31, 1801, died July 6, 1835.

Roger B. Taney, appointed March 15, 1836. Associate Justices.

William Cushing, appointed September 27, 1789, died in 1811.

James Wilson, appoiuted September 29, 1789, died in 1798.

John Blair, appointed September 30, 1789, died in 1796.

James Iredell, appointed February 10, 1790, died in 1799.

Thomas Johnson, appointed November 7, 1791, resigned in 1793.

William Patterson, appointed March 4, 1793, in the place of Judge Johnson, died in 1806.

Samuel Chase, appointed January 7, 1796, in the place of Judge Blair, died in 1811.

Bushrod Washington, appointed December 20,1798, in the place of Judge Wilson, died November 26, 1829.

Alfred Moore, appointed December 10, 1799 in the place of Judge Iredell, resigned in 1864.

William Johnson, appointed March 6, 1804, in the place of Judge Moore, died in 1835.

Brockholst Livingston, appointed November 10, 1806, in the place of Judge Patterson, died in 1823.

Thomas Todd, appointed March 3, 1807, under the act of congress of February, 1807, providing for an additional justice, died in 1826.

Gabriel Duval, appointed November 18, 1811, in the place of Judge Chase, resigned in January, 1835.

Joseph Story, appointed November 18, 1811, in the place of Judge Cushing. Smith Thompson, appointed December 9, 1823, in the place of, Judge Livingston, deceased.

Robert Trimble, appointed May 9, 1826, in the place of Judge Todd, died in 1829.

John McLean, appointed March 1829, in the place of Judge Trimble, deceased.

Henry Baldwin, appointed January 1830, in the place of Judge Washington, deceased.

James M. Wayne, appointed January 9, 1835, in the place of Judge Johnson, deceased.

Philip P. Barbour, appointed March 15, 1836, died February 25,1841.

John Catron, appointed March 8, 1837, under the act of congress providing for two additional judges.

John McKinley, appointed September 25, 1837, under the last mentioned act.

Peter V. Daniel, appointed March 3, 1841, in the place of Judge Barbour, deceased.

Samuel Nelson, appointed February 14, 1845, in the place of Judge Thompson, deceased.

Levi Woodbury, appointed September 20, 1845, in the recess of senate, in the place of Judge Story, deceased: his nomination confirmed January 3, 1846.

Robert C. Grier, appointed August 4, 1846, in the place of Judge Baldwin, deceased.

Benj. Robbins Curtis, appointed 1851, in the recess of the senate, in the place of Judge Woodbury, deceased: his nomination confirmed

The present judges of the supreme court are,

Chief Justice. Roger B. Taney. Associate Justices. John McLean, James M. Wayne, John Catron, John McKinley, Peter V. Daniel, Samuel Nelson, Robert C. Grier, and B. Robbins Curtis.

3. In the several states there are also supreme courts; their powers and jurisdiction will be found under the names of the several states.

SUR. A French word which signifies upon, on. It is very frequently used in connexion with other words as, sur rule to take deposition, sur trover and conversion, and the like.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Supreme court is the name of a court having jurisdiction over all other courts Vide Courts of the United States.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A court of high powers and extensive jurisdiction, existing in most of the states. In some it is the official style of the chief appellate court or court of last resort. In others (as New Jersey and New York) the supreme court is a court of general original jurisdiction, possessing also (in New York) some appellate jurisdiction, but not the court of last resort. '
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
The highest court of the U. S. government; the highest court in the majority of the states; a trial court in N. Y.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary