The Supreme Court in the American System of Government

The Constitution and the Supreme Court

The constitution's article III outlines the steps for creating a federal court. As a result, the Supreme Court should be given the authority to exercise American legal authority. The Congress has been given instructions on how to set it up. Additionally, Section II of Article III gives the system the authority to adjudicate a case legally. Particular cases involving two or more states, ambassadors, and public officials fall under its original authority. The Supreme Court has the authority to consider appeal cases that involve issues of federal and constitutional law. For example, suits that the U.S is a party, cases concerning ships on high seas, Treaties, and disputes on navigable waterways. Furthermore, it has the authority to review the actions of the President and Congress. For instance, the court can inform the President that his deeds are not according to the constitution. The Supreme Court has the mandate to inform the Congress the passed bills are against the law. Other branches of the government limit the power of the Court. The President is responsible for nominating justices to the court while the Senate approves them. It acts as a last resort for individuals seeking justice. Also, the system has the power of judicial review to ensure all the branches of the government operate within the constitution. The appointed justices are supposed to protect civil rights and liberties by stopping different elements that violate constitutional laws. It establishes proper limits on democratic government to ensure that popular majorities do not implement inappropriate laws that may affect the minority. Therefore, the changing views of the majority should not undermine the important values of other Americans such as freedom of speech and religion.

Judicial Review

The Court has the power to perform the judicial review. Therefore, it can declare the Legislative or Executive act in cases the constitution is violated by any branch of the government. Such a doctrine was established in the suit of Marbury v. Madison (1803). The justices had the opportunity to evaluate whether the Act of Congress or Constitution law was the supreme law of the land. In Judicial review, the Court has the mandate to evaluate and make a decision on the whether statutes, treaties and administrative regulations are against the will of the existing law or constitution. In Marbury v. Madison, the legal system confirmed the power for judicial review by striking down unconstitutional law. A lawsuit was filed by William Marbury that required James Madison to bring a commission that appointed him as a justice of the peace. The case was filed directly in Supreme Court. There was a question on whether the system was responsible for hearing the case or another lower court. In Judiciary Act of 1789, the Supreme Court was given authority to hear such a suit concerning writs of mandamus. The constitution recorded that Supreme Court has original jurisdiction and not issues related to mandamus cases. Chief Justice John Marshall confirmed that the constitution guides the Court. Therefore, the appointed judicial members have the authority to stop different laws that are against the constitution.

After the review

The Chief confirmed the Court had no original jurisdiction on the matter. Article VI outlines the constitution as the appropriate Supreme Law in the United States. Therefore, the Act of Congress could not stand since it was contrary to the constitution.

The Role of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court adopted the role of monitoring government actions in the case of Marbury v. Madison. It could implement judicial review and struck down several statutes there were against the constitution. For example, the case of Fletcher v. Peck (1810) was considered as unconstitutional. Currently, the system has established judicial review fully to serve as a cornerstone to constitution laws.

Number of Cases and Selection

The nine justices of Supreme Court receive about 7000 to 8000 cases for hearing, but they review them and select about 100 suits. The unselected lawsuits are guided by the ruling of the lower court.

"Living Constitution" and "Originalist"

A living constitution evolves to adapt to current circumstances. If a constitution does not change, it clashes with the society's needs, which vary every day. The evolution promotes progress in America. Unchanging statutes would be a hindrance to development in America. The judges have the power to manipulate it to create appropriate laws that are followed in the community.

Living Constitution

Living constitution interpretation theory indicates that the constitution has dynamic meaning. It is assumed to take the nature or animate being that varies depending on circumstances. Therefore, the interpretation of articles considers the contemporary society. The argument of the living constitution is divided into two categories. Firstly, the pragmatist concept indicates that interpreting the structure based on the original meaning is sometimes not appropriate. Therefore, the evolving meaning is always necessary. Secondly, the constitutional framers had the idea of making broad and flexible laws that govern the States. Some opponents of the theory consider the changing of a structure through amendment rather than allowing members of the judiciary to determine the current appropriate meaning.

Originalist Theory

In the originalist theory, the constitution is interpreted without interfering with the original meaning. It does not change or evolve and is fixed. The power of amendment is bestowed on the hands of people. The constitution is valued as a binding contract. It is appropriate since it protects the rights of people. The judges cannot manipulate its original meaning. The composition is considered as a statute where the phrases are supposed to serve the initial purpose intended during promulgation. The law should protect all people regardless of age. The fixed meaning of the articles should be the guiding principles for the judges applying the constitutional clauses.

The theory is acceptable because of the following reasons. Firstly, it considers the principles of the constitution that limits the judges from ruling depending on personal feeling or passion of the times. Secondly, originalism indicates a ruling system that is accountable to the people. Such a government ensures there is appropriate human liberty. The constitution defends human freedom. Thirdly, originalism can limit the will of the judiciary. The judges are prevented from applying their will when making various rulings in a particular case. It ensures the evident meaning of different clauses is applicable in every court. The Supreme Court should confirm the constitution remains coherent and interrelated. It should not change depending on personal perception or feeling. People in the judicial system need a common framework that guides them when making a legal decision. Originalism brings consistency in the interpretation of the law since the judicial applies the similar law when making the most appropriate ruling.


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