Judiciary as the Most Powerful Branch of Government Essay

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Judiciary as the Most Powerful Branch of Government

In answering this question I will first paint a picture of the power that the court holds, and decide whether this is governmental power. Then I will outline the balances that the court must maintain in its decision making and therefore the checks on its actions as an institution that governs America.

"Scarcely any political question arises that is not resolved sooner or later into a judicial question." (Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America)

If we take Tocqueville on his word then the American Judiciary truly is in a powerful position. The reason for much of this power is the principle of judicial review of the actions of the
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Of significance here is the outcome of the case - Marshall in the most important of all opinions ruled that Marbury should receive his commission. It should be noted at this point, and returned to later, that congress is given control over the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. In the 1789 Judiciary act congress had legislated that, under article 13, writs of mandamus were unconstitutional. This therefore meant that the case (that had been brought straight top the Supreme Court) was not in fact under its original jurisdiction. By Striking down this portion of the Judiciary act Marshall set in stone the principle that the judiciary had the power to review the actions of the executive and Acts of Congress. In the History of the court there have been some 130 Acts of Congress and some 1,058 state statutes struck down.(Figures Barnum The Supreme Court and American Democracy) This points to a powerful if not the most powerful branch of government.

When reviewing Acts of congress or the actions of the executive against the constitution there comes an inevitable need to 'interpret' the constitution. The need arises from the Fact that although there are some very specific rights and powers laid down in the constitution (the third amendment

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