Constitutional Law

Judicial Branch

Why is judicial review celebrated and criticized in the democracy?

This is a complex question, but judicial review allows judges to correct errors made by the legislative branch. If a law clearly violates constitutional rights, the court has the power to rectify the situation. A classic example of a celebrated use of judicial review was the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The U.S. Supreme Court determined that public schools must be desegregated because segregated public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

On the other hand, judicial review is criticized because it enables judges to thwart the will of the people as expressed in popular laws. For instance, the U.S. Supreme Court can strike down a law that Congress and the American people largely support. This to some is undemocratic and gives too much power to the judiciary.


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