The US Constitution: The Power Of Judicial Review

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The Power of Judicial Review Article III of the U.S. Constitution describes the powers and duties of the judicial branch. Nowhere does it mention the power of the courts to review actions of the other two branches, and possibly declare these actions unconstitutional. This power, called Judicial Review, was established by the landmark decision in Marbury v. Madison, 1803 (“The Power of Judicial Review,” n.d.). No law or action can contradict the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. The court can only review a law that is brought before it through a lawsuit. State courts also have the power to review state laws or actions based upon their state constitutions (“The Power of Judicial Review,” n.d.). The case of…show more content…
Madison, 1803 President John Adams did not win a second term in the 1801 election, he used the final days of his presidency to make a large number of political appointments. When the new president (Thomas Jefferson) took office, he told his Secretary of State (James Madison), not to deliver the official paperwork to the government officials who had been appointed by Adams. Thus the government officials, including William Marbury, were denied their new jobs. William Marbury petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus, to force Madison to deliver the commission (“The Power of Judicial Review,” n.d.). Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 (a law written by Congress), gave the Supreme Court the authority to issue writs of mandamus to settle disputes such as the one described here. This power to force actions of government officials went above and beyond anything mentioned in Article III of the Constitution. Therefore, in addition to deciding whether or not William Marbury had a right to his job, the U.S. Supreme Court also had to decide whether or not Section 13 of the Judiciary Act was in violation of the Constitution (“The Power of Judicial Review,”…show more content…
Virginia Board of Elections, 1966 case Annie Harper was not allowed to register to vote in Virginia because she wasn’t able to pay the state’s poll tax. Virginia law required voters to pay $1.50 tax to register, with the money collected going to public school funding. Ms. Harper sued the Virginia Board of Elections, claiming the poll tax violated her 14th Amendment right to equal protection. Note: The 24th Amendment to the Constitution already banned poll taxes in federal elections, but not in state elections (“The Power of Judicial Review,” n.d.). Was the Virginia law requiring a tax to vote in a state election unconstitutional? The Supreme Court declared the Virginia poll tax law unconstitutional. By making it more difficult for poor people to vote, the state was violating the 14thAmendment guarantee of equal protection. Voting is a fundamental right, and should remain accessible to all citizens. The amount of wealth someone has should have no bearing on their ability to vote freely (“The Power of Judicial Review,” n.d.). As shown in this paper Judicial Review is a key part of the U.S. law

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