The United States government hasupheld a federal system where certain powers are distributed among the threebranches of government: legislative, executive and judicial.
The Constitution doesnot give the judicial branch as much enumerated powers as the other branches,but it is necessary to make sure the other branches are making decisions thatare constitutional. Thecase Marbury v. Madison gave the judicialbranch a new-found power that made it one of the most influential branches ofthe government. Even though this case was not brought to the Supreme Court toestablish a new power, that is what happened, making the case very importantand famous in history. In the case Marburyv.
Madison, the Supreme Court ruled against Marbury stating that they werenot the correct court to make a decision. This case is significant because itwas the first time the Supreme Court found another branch acting wrong and unconstitutional.It was with this case that the Supreme Court established a new power: judicialreview. It allowed the Supreme Court to declare laws unconstitutional. Thoughthis was already an enumerated power the judicial branch had, judicial review providedthe Supreme Court with the necessary power they needed to keep the legislativeand executive branches in check. This new-found power contributed to the ideaof checks and balances, giving the judicial branch more authority to controlthe other branches than what the Constitution states. Thecreation of judicial review gives the Supreme Court authority to directlyinterfere with laws and decisions the legislative branch makes, essentiallydeciding the fate of laws given to the American public.
For being in a branch thatdoes not associate with the public, judicial review gave the Supreme Court thenecessary amount of power to dictate what laws and regulations the Americanpeople must follow. Onequestion that arose from this case was: should the Supreme Court be given the powerto make decisions over social and political problems that the American publicis facing (Sakall, 16)? The Supreme Court is part of the branch that leastconnects with the people. Rarely are justices from the Supreme Court found inpublic or in the media.
In fact, they hide away from the public eye. They arenot elected by the people like the President and Congress. Yet, sometimes they makedecisions on laws that affect the American public. Is this reasonable? TheConstitution is a vague document and in many cases, it is not very clear onwhat it states. For this fact alone, the courts are very important in oursystem of government.
The Constitution does not explicitly state anything aboutrace, gender, ethnicities, etc. That is why it is necessary to have a source ofpower that can interpret what the Constitution is trying to say at the time of decidingif passing a certain law would be the best thing for the country. When justicesare appointed, they are appointed for life. Having justices that serve for lifewould help the court be less bias and more critical because the justices do notneed to be liked by the American public or other branches of government to keeptheir position as a justice.
Having the same people would also keep theideologies, preferences, and values more constant creating fewer disagreementsas well as keeping the Constitution as original as possible. The Supreme Court does not have to makedecisions according to how the public may react. Thus, they have more opportunitiesto be more critical and make decisions based upon their interpretation of theConstitution and what is best for the country. The legislative branch createsbills that later the executive branch signs into law, but they always do thisthinking about public opinion.
They are more prone to make decisions that onlybenefit those who will re-elect them into office. On the other hand, theSupreme Court has no obligation to take opinions from the American public.Consequently, having an objective opinion made solely of interpreting the lawis fairer for everyone. Justices “do not make the rules; they apply them”(Roberts, 2005, slide 50). Giving the Supreme Court the authority to agree ordisagree with which laws are unconstitutional makes the government more controlledand fair. It develops a way of creating laws that are not formed to benefit onecertain group, but a majority of the country.
The job of the Supreme Court isto keep our Constitution valued, respected and applied in our federal system.