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The first Monday in October is the traditional day that the U.S. Supreme Court convenes for its new term. Analysts carefully read the signals and forecast the direction the court will take. This year the scrutiny seems a little more intense, as the court takes up several highly charged cases.

Alexander Hamilton famously thought the judiciary would be the weakest branch of government. He recognized that the Supreme Court lacked “the sword and the purse” and could not enforce or implement its own decisions. Rather, it would need to rely on the good offices of the other branches.

As a student of the Supreme Court, Richard Pacelle, professor of political science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has examined how the power and authority of the court have waxed and waned over the centuries. The modern Supreme Court, dating back to Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, is one of the most powerful tribunals in the world and across history. Read the full article on The Conversation.

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Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,