Origins of the Federal Court System

Judicial Review and Judicial Independence

What was the leading framer James Madison’s opinion of judicial review?

Virginia delegate James Madison realized that too much power in any one branch could create problems when he wrote in the Federalist Papers (#47): “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and where hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Madison actually favored a system whereby the justices would join with members of the executive branch to form a “council of revision” that would review laws proposed by the U.S. Congress.


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