Once passed by the legislature and signed into law by the president, the people of the United States can challenge any law in the courts under the authority of the judicial branch. Laws deemed unconstitutional by the judiciary are considered void. In this way, justices of the courts become the final arbiters of the fairness and legality of a law's provisions.Continue Reading
In 1803, the case of Marbury v. Madison enshrined the principle of judicial review in American law. Judicial review grants the courts the right to establish the consistency of any statute with existing laws and constitutional requirements. Authoring the unanimous opinion, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall asserted the duty of the court to strike down a law deemed unconstitutional — in this case, the provision that allowed Marbury to bring his suit before the court in the first place.
In the centuries since Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court has heard tens of thousands of cases and has made controversial decisions with ramifications that affect American culture for generations. Hundreds of thousands more cases have been decided by lower levels of the judiciary. However, the path to change laws through the judiciary is not an immediate one. While laws are often debated, voted on in the legislature over matters of days or weeks, many appeals to the Supreme and appellate courts take months or years of preparation, and many more are never heard at all.Learn more about Branches of Government
Judicial power involves constitutional authority assigned to courts and judges, according to the Free Dictionary. The authority enables them to interpret and apply the law, arbitrate legal disputes and carry out justice.Full Answer >
A bicameral legislature is composed of two chambers, both of which must pass legislation before it becomes law. The United States has a bicameral legislature, as Congress is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Bicameralism is intended to ensure that multiple perspectives are involved in the legislative process.Full Answer >
The primary purpose for a bicameral legislature is to dilute the effects of the popular will in decision making for a state or country by creating more hurdles for legislation to clear before becoming law and/or by creating one house of the legislature that does not go through direct election. The British Parliament and the original makeup of the United States Congress both fulfilled this purpose.Full Answer >
The U.S. Congress and the president determine how many federal courts exist in the country. The Constitution vests Congress with the power to pass legislation, subject to approval by the president, that establishes all inferior federal courts.Full Answer >