Judicial Review

Judicial Review
The Judicial Branch
Article III
• Original jurisdiction: where the case is
heard first, usually in a trial.
• Appellate jurisdiction: cases brought on
appeal from a lower court.
Original Jurisdiction
• Ambassadors
• Public Ministries and Consuls
• Issues where the states is one of the parties
Appellate Jurisdiction
• Laws if the United States
• Law and Equity under the Constitution
Judicial Review
• Definition: the right of the federal courts to rule on
the constitutionality of laws and executive actions.
• It is the chief judicial weapon in the checks and
balances system.
• Controversy
– Federalist Paper #78
• The least feared branch = the least dangerous
• It cannot enforce its decisions
• Only the courts can ensure the limits of the
Marbury v. Madison
Marbury v. Madison (1803): The
Supreme Court could declare a
congressional act unconstitutional
Supreme Court Decision in Marbury
V. Madison
• Marbury is entitled to the
commission, but:
– The Court cannot issue
the writ because the
Judiciary Act of 1789, is
– The Supreme Court of
the United States has the
power to review acts of
other branches and
determine their
• This power is called
judicial review.
• Article III, Section 2 lays
out the original
jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court
– "In all Cases affecting
Ambassadors, other
public Ministers and
Consuls, and those in
which a State shall be a
Party, the supreme Court
shall have original
Arguments for Judicial Activism
• Courts should correct injustices when other
branches or state governments refuse to do
• Courts are the last resort for those without
the power or influence to gain new laws.
Arguments Against Judicial
• Judges lack expertise in designing and
managing complex institutions.
• Initiatives require balancing policy
priorities and allocating public revenues.
• Courts are not accountable because judges
are not elected.