The Judicial Branch

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, Separation of powers, United States Congress Pages: 5 (1607 words) Published: March 11, 2014
The Judicial Branch is the most important branch of the United States government, due to the significant role it plays in interpreting and determining if laws are constitutional. Even though the Judicial Branch is the smallest in size and has smallest budget of any branch in our nation’s government, it exercises enormous power and is equal to other branches of the government because it has the power of Judicial Review. Judicial Review is the review by the US Supreme Court of the constitutional validity of a legislative act. The Creation of the Federal Courts

The Constitution defines the structure and functions of the legislative branch of the government. It clearly addresses the responsibilities and powers of the president.
But, it treats the judicial branch almost as an afterthought. Article III specifically creates only one court (the Supreme Court), allows judges to serve for life and to receive compensation, broadly outlines original jurisdiction, and outlines the trial procedure for and limitations of congressional power against those accused of treason. Framers of the Constitution

The framers of the Constitution were clearly more interested in their experiment with legislative government than in the creation of a judicial system. Had it not been for John Marshall, the third chief justice of the Supreme Court, the judicial branch might well have developed into a weak, ineffective check on the legislature and the presidency.

But Marshall changed everything by interpreting a power "implied" by Article III. Judicial review, or the power of the courts to overturn a law, was the vehicle he used to create the most powerful judicial branch in the history of the world. Article III basically implied that “the judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish”. It also stated that “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority,”. Writs

A writ is a written court order requiring a party to perform or cease to perform a given act.
Marshall's decision was to declare the writ of mandamus unconstitutional, claiming that Congress had passed a law "repugnant to the Constitution." He declared that because Article III did not grant the judicial branch the power of the writ of mandamus, and so the Supreme Court was unable to order Madison to act. Of course, Jefferson and Madison were happy with the decision, and the crisis passed, with only a disgruntled prospective justice (Marbury) to protest. i How the Supreme Court gets the Final Word

No one seemed to understand the grand implications of what Marshall had done: he had created the power of judicial review. This established the standard that only the federal courts could interpret the Constitution. This power has given federal judges the final word in settling virtually every major issue that has challenged the government in American history. Today, the judicial branch not only provides strong checks and balances to the executive and legislative branches; it possesses a tremendous amount of policy-making power in its own right. This power rests more on the standard of judicial review set by Marshall in 1803 than on the provisions of the Constitution. How the Judges and Justices of the Federal Courts are chosen

The first of three ways Judges and Justices are chosen is the Nomination Process. The Constitution provides broad parameters for the judicial nomination process. It gives the responsibility for nominating federal judges and justices to the president. It also requires nominations to be confirmed by the Senate.

But many vacancies do occur during a president's term of office. Appointing judges, then, could be a full-time job. A president relies on many sources to recommend appropriate nominees for judicial...
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