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he found that the petitioners were entitled to their commissions, he held that the Constitution did not give the Supreme Court the power to issue writs of mandamus. Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 provided that such writs might be issued, but that section of the act was inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid.Although the immediate effect of the decision was to deny power to the Court, its long-run effect has been to increase the Court’s power by establishing the rule that ‘it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.’ Since Marbury v. Madison the Supreme Court has been the final arbiter of the constitutionality of congressional legislation.Judicial review is the doctrine within democratic theory under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review, and possible invalidation, by the judiciary. By giving power to the courts to review statutes and governmental actions, they have the ability to determine whether they conform to rules and principles laid down in constitutions. Judicial Review is based on the idea that a constitution which dictates the nature, functions, and limits of a government is the supreme law. Consequently, any actions by a government that violate the principles of its constitution are invalid. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority, such as the terms of a written constitution. Judicial review is an example of the functioning of separation of powers in a modern governmental system which is composed of the Judicial, Executive, and Legislative branches. Many questions can arise in regards to judicial review: should judges have the power to declare other branches’ actions unconstitutional, why there is controversy surrounding it, and what the overall impact has been on American society. A thorough analysis of the three topics can cumulate a horde of information which collectively point back to the origins of the term, both philosophically and literally, within the US court system, respectively through the employment both philosophical thinkers and cornerstone court cases.If we were to look back at the ideas and thoughts of some of the greatest political thinkers of our time, we would find that individuals such as Plato, Niccolo Machiavelli, and John Locke, would share extremely different views as to whether or not judicial review, and the Supreme Court holistically, would be successful in their ideal government situations. One of the earliest political philosophers, Plato, would find our present-day governmental setup of the Supreme Court to be fitting. Plato based his beliefs around the idea of Moral Universalism, often coined as Platonic Universalism, which is the “meta-ethical position that there is a universal ethic is undeniably applicable to all people, regardless of culture, race, sex, religion, nationality, sexuality or other distinguishing features.” A universal ethic is a moral system that applies to all of humanity, and thus transcends culture and personal whim. The source or justification of this system is human nature, a shared vulnerability to suffering, the demands of universal reason, common themes among existing moral codes, and the mandates of religion. From the perspective of Platonic universalism, no positive law can be exempt from the continuous process of critical review. Even the Constitution is no exception; it has to be critically reviewed in terms of our transcendent intuitions. Thus, judicial review comes of more appreciation for its unique institution in American politics, as well as for its ability to overcome the obstacles that arise with one branch of government gaining too much power, embodying majoritarianism. When discussing the pressing question of the necessity for judges to have the ability to declare things unconstitutional, such as in Marbury vs. Madison, !!!!!! states that “this is the notorious problem of countermajoritarianism for judicial review, and it is an insoluble one on the supposition that majoritarian rule is always self-justifying… if judicial review can be a practically effective constraint on the misbehavior of majoritarian rule, it can be justified on Platonic grounds.” According to Plato, government should be run by enlightened philosopher-kings, that would rule for the good of the people, and not themselves. We today see the Supreme Court as a collection of the most “enlightened” thinkers of our day, chosen to make moral decisions about laws made by others in our society, and decide whether or not the laws we make are in the best interest of our nation as a whole. Plato knew that within any political State their would be corruption. To to stop the corruption, he felt that the philosopher-kings would best rule because they would not indulge themselves in a corrupt society. They only believed in the truth, and justice that government is supposed to protect its people with. The first U.S. Supreme Court case to apply the principle of “judicial review” – the power of federal courts to void acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution is considered to be one of the most important cases in the Supreme Court history. This case was a landmark United States Supreme Court case because the Court formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review in the United States under Article III of the Constitution (LII). Written in 1803 by Chief Justice John Marshall, the decision played a key role in making the Supreme Court a separate branch of government on par with Congress and the executive. The issue that the case resolved was itself of little significance. It was all based on an issue of political patronage, pitting the ascendant Jeffersonians against the upcoming departing Federalists. The feud between them was intense and came to a full out blood bath at court. The case can only be understood against the background of the election of 1800, in which Thomas Jefferson defeated the incumbent president, John Adams, and his Democratic-Republican party also gained control of the Congress (McNamara). In those days, there was a long lame duck period between the November election and the inauguration of a new president (The Charters of Freedom).Adams appointed John Marshall as Secretary of State, and then appointed him also as Chief Justice of the United States when that position became vacant. The Federalist-dominated Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, which created circuit courts of appeal much like they are today, and relieved the justices of the Supreme Court of their obligation to “ride circuit.” It also increased the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Adams immediately appointed 16 new judg… (“Article III.” LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.)Marbury, of course, stands only for the proposition that judges can declare acts of Congress invalid. In subsequent cases Marshall asserted that judges could also declare invalid executive orders or actions (Little v. Barreme, 1804 ) and upheld the Judiciary Act of 1789, under which Congress gave the Supreme Cour power to review and reserve decisions upholding the constitutionality of state statutes (Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 1816;Cohens v. Virginia, 1821). Taken collectively, these cases provide federal judges with impressive tools for monitoring governmental actions, tools that they have not always been hesitant to use. Through the end of the 1990s, the Supreme Court has invalidated nearly 140 federal statutes and some 1,200 local laws . State courts too, with their own power to strike down acts passed within their jurisdiction, are active monitors of their governments. One scholar estimates that state justices invalidate nearly 25 percent of all laws challenged in their court rooms.


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