Why Is Judicial Review Controversial?

Judicial review is controversial because an unelected group is charged with interpreting the Constitution and thereby the validity of laws affecting the populous.Judicial review should be void of all political bias, however, the power granted to a body that is not accountable to the public can be seen as an imbalance in the checks and balances intended by the three branch system of democracy in the United States.

Judicial review is now a common fixture in the United States government and judicial systems; however, the scope of judicial power has been contested from the onset. It has its origins in the Privy Council review of colonial legislation during the colonial charter days before the United States existed.

In Marbury v. Madison, the justice system first struck down an act of Congress that they claimed was inconsistent with the Constitution. In this situation, Chief Justice Marshall argued for judicial review of congressional acts saying, "The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution, is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body."