The United States government hasupheld a federal system where certain powers are distributed between 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 reviewgave the Supreme Court 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 gave 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 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? The Supreme Court, is part of the branch that least connects withthe people. Rarely are justices from the Supreme Court found in public or inthe media. In fact, they are hidden away from the public eye. They are notelected by the people like the President and Congress. Yet, sometimes they arethe ones that make decisions on laws that affect the American public. Is thisreasonable? 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 when decidingif passing a certain law would be the best thing for the American public. 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 less disagreements aswell as keeping the Constitution as original as possible. Sincethe Supreme Court does not have to make decisions according to how the publicmay react they have more opportunities to be more critical and make decisionsbased upon their interpretation of the Constitution and the wellbeing of thecountry. The legislative branch creates bills that later the executive branchsigns into law, but they always do this thinking about public opinion.
They aremore prone to make decisions that only benefit those who will reelect them intooffice. On the other hand, the Supreme Court has no obligation to take opinionsfrom the American public. Consequently, in many cases having an objectiveopinion made solely of interpreting law is fairer for everyone. Justices “donot make the rules; they apply them” (Roberts, 2005, slide 50). Giving theSupreme Court the authority to agree or disagree on applying laws makes thegovernment more controlled and fair.
It develops a way of creating laws thatare not formed to benefit one certain group, but a majority of the country. Thejob of the Supreme Court is to keep our Constitution valued and applied amongall other things.