Power of the Courts
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Courts are the law’s final arbiters. Being a court employee empowers one to judicial review, which allows invalidating or overruling any federal, public or state law that goes against or conflicts with the constitution of the state. The power and limits of the courts always place them in creative tension with other departments of government.
The courts are full of ambiguities; they are both powerful and weak. Juridical review is performed in the courts, however, they depend on other departments of the government to implement their decisions and these decisions lack democratic legitimacy. This is due to the fact that judges are not elected members. Hence, they are supposed to follow the law, but must have political context in mind while deciding on cases. This is the reason why courts act as both progressive and conservative force. Many are in view that law reflects the interests of the powerful; however, this is also the only source through which people can file legal claims against them.
This essay gives an overview of the judicial activism and the court system in the United States of America. Moreover, it also includes the role and power of judiciary in democratic government.
In the United States of America, the federal and state systems of justice exist side by side. All of the states own separate court system with their own constitution. In this dual court system, the state courts are the real judges instead of federal judges, as most of the cases are heard in state courts. The significance of the state court judges is that, they are elected; however, federal court judges are being appointed.
The federal court system is divided into three steps; district courts commonly known as the trail courts, and the Supreme courts with highest level and commands in the federal courts. In federal courts, appointment of the judges is done by president of the USA; however, the decision can be challenged by the senate. In the contemporary political system, the appointment of the judges of challenged and delayed by the senate.
The cases in the Supreme Court are of constitutional issues and are approved by four justices. However, the usual bench of Supreme Court includes nine Judges led by one Chief Justice. President usually appoints judges who share the same values regarding the political condition of the state, but in most cases the justice decisions surprise those who appointed them. The concept of Judicial Activism is mostly seen in Supreme Court decisions. Supreme Court often nullifies laws, restraint politicians and has deferred the congress. This usually happens when the legislation greatly tries to expand its power over business and the states.
The citizen rights were expanded in mid nineteenth century, the country moved from liberal to conservative, so did the courts. However, the current court includes four conservatives and four moderates. This philosophy has made many U.S citizens bring suits in court as compared to any other country. American courts have relaxed restrictions and as a consequence, the openness has encouraged the groups to achieve through lawsuit what they could not possibly get through legislature.
Most of the countries do not have this judicial activism or judicial review, which made United States the most distinctive country amongst others in criminal judicial system.
The courts are considered to be the most conservative institutions that support the powerful. Most people believe that their decisions confirm reforms rather than cause them. This is due to the fact that the law suits are usually following the politics, and in return, require political support and cooperation by the political actors in order to implement their decision. However, one cannot deny the significance of the court and the degree to which the law can be tool to a social change through judicial activism.