Pros & Cons of Judicial Review

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, Law, Judicial review Pages: 2 (746 words) Published: April 30, 2012
Judicial review is unlike almost every other aspect of the American legal and legislative processes. It’s different for several reasons, but it is most unique in the sense that it was put into practice before it was put in to the books as law. It was instituted by Chief Justice John Marshall in 1803’s landmark case Marbury v. Madison. Judicial review has been around for over 200 years, and it still draws as much criticism today as it did the day it was instituted. John Marshall was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for 34 years and presided over some of the most important and famous trials in our country’s history, trials such as McCulloch v. Maryland, Cohens v. Virginia, and perhaps most infamously, the Aaron Burr treason trial. But all of these cases pale in comparison to the impact of Marbury v. Madison, both then and now. In ruling that Congress does not have the power to change an opinion of the court, and that the Constitution supersedes any act of Congress it is in conflict with (in this case the Judiciary Act of 1789), Marshall perhaps forever changed the course of law in America. Marshall’s decision in Marbury was formed not by the facts of the case, but rather whether he had the jurisdiction to hear the case at all. The case went directly to the Supreme Court because Marbury was seeking a writ of mandamus and the Judiciary Act of 1789 states that the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in such cases. Article III of the Constitution, however, lists situations in which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction and writ on mandamus cases are not one of the situations given. Given these facts, it was Marshall’s “emphatic and provincial duty” to say what the law of the land should be. He ruled that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and that judges shall not enforce a law they deem to be unconstitutional. The decision in Marbury v. Madison sent immediate and long reaching shock waves through the U.S., and with good reason. With one...
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