Constitutional Law

Judicial Branch

How does the Constitution give the judicial branch a role in the legal system?

Article III, Section 2 speaks about the jurisdiction of the federal courts—specifically the United States Supreme Court. The Constitution does not specifically mention the power of the judiciary to review whether laws are constitutional. However, Chief Justice John Marshall—the fourth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court—wrote in a famous early Supreme Court decision Marbury v. Madison (1803): “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each.” This is the power of judicial review.


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