The Judiciary in general and the Supreme Court of the United States in particular represent the republic's most unusual and least understood branch of government. Unlike the elected executive and legislative branches, the justices of the Supreme Court are appointed and serve during good behavior. Therefore they enjoy a degree of independence from the direct winds of politics that truly sets them apart. Moreover, while the cases before them are always heard in public, they are always decided in private - in conferences that the justices alone attend. What goes on both in open court and behind closed doors?