The Supreme Court as a Political Entity Essay

2331 Words Apr 9th, 2008 10 Pages
While I accept that theoretically a judge should not consider extralegal factors when making a ruling, I cannot accept your premise that all judges rule as neutral arbiters who rely solely on precedent, Constitutional text, and original intent of the Framers. As with any other individual in public service, judges are still human beings, and thus bring with them their own prejudices, personal biases, and preconceived notions when taking the bench.

This is not to say that they do not have the intent to try to rule neutrally, or that the oath of office taken is cast by the wayside like refuse. Rather, I purport that the very process under which they have risen to be considered for the bench is a political one, and indeed makes them a part
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The Court also considers compliance. Since the Court has no authority on its own to implement the law, it relies on the executive branch to enforce the rulings of the Court. As a result, the decisions it renders may take the wishes of the President into account when rendering a decision. For instance, in Marbury v. Madison (1803), it is quite likely that the Court was aware how negatively the Jefferson administration would react to a ruling that attempted to force them to take action. Because of such a threat to the Court’s legitimacy, the Marbury ruling was crafted in such a way as to demonstrate disapproval of the President’s policies yet not require action on the part of the executive branch.

Textual interpretation also plays a role. For some justices, this means weighing what they consider the original intent of the Framers when ruling. By considering specific words that were and were not included in the text, deducing “constitutional truths” within the document, and removing ideological whims from the process, advocates of this approach – called originalism – claim that it eliminates confusion by providing a baseline which justices can consistently follow. Opponents of originalism counter that the genius of the document lies in its adaptability, not in its static meaning.

Another school of thought on textual interpretation involves literalism, where the interpreter uses only the plain meaning of the

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