judicial review

: uncategorized : Pros and Cons of Judicial Review

Pros and Cons of Judicial Review Judicial Review is the power given to Supreme court justices in which a judge has the power to reason whether a law is unconstitutional or not. Chief Justice John Ma

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Judicial Review is the power given to Supreme court justices in which a judge has the power to reason whether a law is unconstitutional or not. Chief Justice John Marshall initiated the Supreme Court’s right to translate the Constitution in 1803 following the case of Marbury Vs. Madison, in which he declared the Supreme Court as the sole interpreters of Constitutional law. This is one of the sole purposes of the Supreme Court of the United States. Many Historical thinkers would find some difficulty in imagining a government set up to limit the power of itself,but others would argue that this form of government best works for the people, and not against them. The treatment of the Constitution by the Supreme Court as a “living” document that is able to be translated differently over time for the good of the people has as many skeptics as it does supporters. But, if we do not allow the Supreme Court to translate the Constitution who then, should the people chose to do such an important job.

If we were to look back at the ideas and thoughts of some of the greatest political thinkers of our time, we would find that individuals such as Plato, Niccolo Machiavelli, and John Locke, would share extremely different views as to whether or not Judicial review, and the Supreme Court as a whole, would be successful in their ideal government situations.

One of the earliest political philosophers Plato, would find our present day governmental setup of the Supreme Court to be the ideal group to deal with the United States’ situation. Plato felt that government should be run by enlightened philosopher kings, that would rule for the good of the people, and not themselves. We today see the Supreme Court as a collection of the most “enlightened” thinkers of our day. They are chosen to make moral decisions about laws made by others in our society, and decide whether or not the laws we make are in the best interest of our nation as a whole. Plato knew that within any political State their would be corruption, to stop the corruption Plato felt that the philosopher kings would best rule because they would not indulge themselves in a corrupt society. They only believed in the truth, and justice that government is supposed to protect its people with. Although Plato would not totally agree with the Democratic structure of our government, I believe that he would chose for our society, a state that is ruled by a similar group to that of our Supreme Court because, the members of the Supreme Court are chosen because of their ability to make sensible, moral decisions about issues that may contradict our Constitution.

Niccolo Machiavelli on the other hand, would find a great many problems with giving the Power to translate Constitutional law to anyone other than the President of the United States. Machiavelli would also totally disagree with the idea of having anyone make decisions about laws because they are morally incorrect. Machiavelli felt that virtue and idealism was one of the biggest enemies of the State. He felt that a government should be run with the sole intention of forcing the people to be obedient, and for the individual virtues of the people to be a non-factor in any political decisions made by the ruler of the state. He would find that a group of individuals elected to protect the virtue of citizens, and make sure that laws were morally correct, would be a totally absurd action that would only cause chaos, and mayhem because it is impossible to make a government that is completely virtuous. Machiavelli found the most successful government to be one that ruled on the basis of “realism” not “idealism”. Realistically, no government could ever successfully develop under an ideal that would allow a group of otherwise powerless individuals to decide whether or not the laws that exist in government are morally correct under the guidance of a Constitution that may be considered to be “Idealistic” rather than “realistic”.

A more modern philosopher such as John Locke, would find the Supreme Court and its power of Judicial Review to be one of the most important characteristics of the United States’ setup of Democracy. Locke would truly enjoy how successful the beauties of the limiting powers of each branch of our government. Locke would find that our policy of “Checks and Balances” to be one of the greatest ways of keeping the government working for the people. Locke believed in each individual’s right to “self Preservation”. Meaning that we all equally have the right to uphold the laws of nature. Locke believed that all people should be treated as equals, and to not treat each other equally would interfere on an individual’s right to “self Preservation”. Much like Locke, The Supreme Court exists to interpret whether or not a law is going to interfere with our right to “self preservation”. Locke felt that for a government to be successful in preserving the rights of the individual citizen, it must concentrate on protecting the “Life and Liberty” of each citizen. The Constitution of the United States is the ideal document in Locke’s mind. And, the Supreme Court’s protection of the people of the United States, and its Constitution is also a necessity in running a truly virtuous, and successful government that concentrates on the rights of the individual, rather than the people as a whole. Many philosophers shared different beliefs on how a government could be most successful. Some believed that a government would be best run by the people. Others thought that one sole dictator or King could best run a successful government. Either way, I don’t believe that anyone can contest the success of the United States’ democratic setup, and its beliefs in protecting the rights of the individual. It was the beliefs of our forefathers to preserve the rights of man, and that “All men are created equal”. These beliefs have molded one of the most successful political states in modern History.


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