ROLE AND FUNCTIONS OF LAW PAPER
APRIL 20, 2015
PROFESSOR STACY MEALEY
In many jurisdictions the judicial branch has the power to change laws through the process of judicial review. The term “judiciary is also used to refer collectively to the personnel, such as judges, magistrates and other adjudicators, who form the core of a judiciary (sometimes referred to as a “bench”), as well as the staffs who keep the system running smoothly. In 1803, Marbury vs Madison case reviewed in the Supreme Court confirmed the legal principle of judicial review demonstrating the ability of the Supreme Court to limit Congressional power by declaring legislation unconstitutional in the new nation. Judicial review is the power of the courts to review statutes and governmental actions to determine whether they conform us to rules and principles laid down by the constitutions. Judicial review is also based on the idea that a constitution, which dictates the nature, functions and limits of a government is the supreme law. Accordingly, any actions by a government that violate the principles of its constitution are invalid. In the U.S the most important exercise of judicial review is by the Supreme Court. The court has used its power to invalidate hundreds of federal, state, and local laws that it found to conflict with the constitution of the U.S. The Supreme Court has also used judicial review to order federal, state, and local officials to refrain from behaving unconstitutionally. In all cases the power of judicial review does not belong exclusively to the Supreme Court. In appropriate cases every court in the U.S. may strike down laws that violate the Constitution. The power of judicial review is essential to the practical system of check and balances, a system established by the U.S constitution in 1789. Without the courts possessing the power of judicial review, the political system would be vastly different. Also without judicial oversight of government actions the legislative branch would be legally supreme and the fundamental protections included in the constitution, such as freedom of speech would be ineffective. The inclusion of fundamental rights in the Constitution combined with the power of judicial review, serves to protect the minority from laws created by a slim majority because a super majority (2-3rds of each house of Congress, plus ratifications by 3-4ths of the states) is required to modify the Constitution. The U.S. Constitution creates a federal system of government in which power is shared between the federal government and the state governments. Federalism allows both the federal government and each of the state government has its own court system. The structure of the federal courts includes three parts which is the Supreme Court, courts of appeal and district courts. The federal courts of appeal are divided into twelve different regions, often known as circuit courts. I reside in the state of Georgia where the eleventh circuit court of appeals is located in Atlanta. This court handles cases from Alabama, Georgia and from Florida. Georgia state court structure is divided into eight parts. This includes three hundred and fifty municipal courts, two appellate level courts which are the Supreme Court and court of appeals. There are also five classes of trial-level courts which are the superior, magistrate, state, probate and juvenile court. The industry that I occasionally work in is collections as a debt collector, specifically collecting on payday, title or credit card loans. There are several laws that limit the actions that I can take to perform my job. The main law that I have to adhere to in order to be successful in my job is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This law protects consumers from being subjected to unscrupulous practices, such as misrepresentations, calling other people about your debt,...
References: Sean P Melvin, (Copyright 2011 McGraw-Hill)
Chapter 2: Business and the Constitution
The Legal Environment of Business. A Managerial Approach: Theory to Practice.
Lehavi, Amnon, (2011). Judicial review of judicial lawmaking.
Minnesota Law Review (Issue 2) pp. 520
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