Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Key Question

Should the Supreme Court have the power to overturn unconstitutional federal laws?

The Supreme Court should have the power to overturn unconstitutional federal laws. The Supreme Court has the power of judicial review because it reviews the actions of the Legislative and Executive Branch to be sure they are acting accordingly to the constitution.

The Constitution does not explicitly grant the Supreme Court the power of judicial review but it does give the power of the Court to overturn laws deemed unconstitutional. In Federalist No.78, “A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain it’s meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body,” said Alexander Hamilton. The Constitution says that the judicial power of the United States should be in one Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court doesn’t have the power of judicial review then who would, the states?

The Supreme Court first established its power to declare laws unconstitutional in Marbury v. Madison in 1803 in the system on checks and balances. The power of checks and balances allows judges to have the last word on authoritative issues among the three branches of government. The federal government grants the three branches the ability to set bounds to their own authority.

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