U.s. Supreme Court Institutional Legitimacy Essay

1654 Words Apr 22nd, 2015 7 Pages
U.S. Supreme Court Institutional Legitimacy
It is rumored that in reaction to a ruling from the Supreme Court in 1832, President Andrew Jackson stated, “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!” This quote highlights a problem with the Supreme Court in which it can neither create nor enforce legislation. Because it has ”no influence over either the sword or the purse,” the Court must rely on its institutional legitimacy to ensure its rulings are respected (Hamilton 1788). There have been cases in which the Court has self-consciously preserved its institutional legitimacy and cases in which the Court went too far from the preferences of the other branches or public opinion that put its institutional legitimacy on the line. In this essay, I describe the separation of powers, define institutional legitimacy and how it is affected, and discuss six cases in which I assert the Supreme Court affected its institutional legitimacy.
The Constitution set up a system of government with three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. Each branch has their designated powers granted by the Constitution and mechanisms to keep the other branches in check. Congress in the legislative branch is granted the power to create laws and utilize the power of the purse. The president in the executive branch is granted the ability to veto bills and use the police and military to assert powers. The Supreme Court in the judicial branch, however, has no explicit, constitutionally…

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