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Judicial Review

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Judicial Review: A Double-Edged Sword

Judicial Review: A Double-Edged Sword
1. Traditional theories of judicial review hold that neutral or principled grounds are the only legitimate bases for judicial decisions and reject political motives in judicial decision-making. Do you believe this is true? Do you see principled v. political motives in important U.S. Supreme Court constitutional decisions which overturn laws passed by legislatures (such as restrictions on gun ownership, or marijuana use)?

The U.S. Supreme Court justices cannot escape the fact that they are appointed to the Supreme Court by a president with political motivations and enviably will make decisions they feel are principle but might easily been seen political to those who don't share their particular viewpoint or stance. For instance, in the landmark decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn segregation in America’s public schools was based on the case of Brown v. Board of Education which was to challenge and change the racist practice set by state legislatures of ‘separate but equal’ as it related to unfair and unequal school settings for black children in many U.S. states. According to a book review by Cline (2011): Brown was initially criticized by many as a severe kind of judicial overreaching, the forging of a constitutional mandate not originally intended by the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment. That view still exists in some quarters. But for many, Brown has become exhibit A in the case for a more activist judiciary, an argument that the courts, because of their relative insulation from political pressures, might in fact be better vehicles to resolve knotty social problems. The United States Supreme Court has had its issues as there has been persistent controversy over the appropriate role of the courts, and particularly the U.S. Supreme Court, in the legislative system. This debate has usually been...