The United States Constitution not only provides a basic framework of government, but also allows for the flexibility to adapt to changes over time. Two basic constitutional principles that allow for the Constitution to be changed are judicial review and the amendment process. These principles have helped the Constitution adapt to the changing times in the United States.
Judicial review refers to the power of a court to review the constitutionality of a court case, treaty, or law. When speaking of the Supreme Court, the term also refers to the Court's power to pass judgment on the constitutionality of actions of state and federal legislatures and courts. The most common form of judicial review is the review of a lower court decision by a higher court, whether it is state or federal. Courts usually review these decisions in the appeals process, when a losing party in a case claims an error was made and appeals to the higher court to take a closer look at the decision. The Supreme Court has the final say on any law the federal or state government passes. An example of judicial review is Brown vs. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court declared that separate public schools for whites and African-Americans unconstitutional. The segregation of children in public schools based solely on the basis of race denies African-American children the equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. All together, judicial review helped pave the way for the way in which the Supreme Court rules based on their interpretation of the constitution.
The framers of the Constitution were aware that changes would be necessary if the Constitution was to endure as the nation grew. Their solution was a two-step process for proposing and ratifying new amendments, also known as the amendment process. First, amendments must be proposed and then ratified. They are proposed by a two-thirds vote in each house of congress. The second method involves the calling of a national...
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