Briefly Describe 2 Supreme Court Cases and Explain How They Illustrate the Constitutional Review Function of the Court

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, United States Constitution, Judicial review Pages: 2 (518 words) Published: May 19, 2012
Briefly describe 2 Supreme Court cases and explain how they illustrate the Constitutional Review function of the Court (15 marks) Judicial review is the power of the Supreme Court to declare acts of Congress, or actions of the executive-or acts or actions of state governments-unconstitutional and therefore null and void. This power is not mentioned in the Constitution but it is said that the Supreme Court ‘found’ the power for itself in the 1803 case of Marbury v Madison which was the first case that declared an act of Congress unconstitutional. Since then, the Supreme Court has used this power on numerous occasions-against both federal and state laws. By using its power of judicial review, the Court can, in effect, update the meaning of the words of the Constitution. There are many cases that illustrate how the Court fulfils its constitutional review function. Firstly, in the Supreme Court case of Boumediene v. Bush (2008) that challenged whether the Military Commissions Act (passed by Congress 2 years earlier) was constitutional. This Act had authorised the President to set up military tribunals to try people arrested during the ‘War on Terror’ and had barred the Courts from intervening in the process. The Supreme Court ruled that the Act failed to provide the constitutional protections required for all suspects and that Congress could not exclude the Courts from a matter of fundamental constitutional significance. This in turn illustrated the constitutional review function of the Court as it conveyed how the judiciary is of paramount importance in terms of checking the power of the legislature and protecting the rights and liberties of humans. Furthermore it highlights that the Supreme Court decisions have important consequences such as in this case when on October 28, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2009, which amended the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and provided new rules for the handling of commission trials and...
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