Can the Power of the Supreme Court Be Justified in a Democracy

1369 Words Dec 9th, 2013 6 Pages
Discuss the view that the power of the Supreme Court cannot be justified in a democracy. The Supreme Court: Functions of judiciaries; judicial independence.
Membership, appointment process and issues of judicial review; accountability and democratic control. Theories of judicial activism and restraint.

The supreme Court is the head of the judicial part of Government in the USA, it acts as an appellant court which can also on occasion deal with ambassadorial and diplomat cases. It is separate from the other 2 branches of government in order to remain independent and provides a powerful check on those branches. However it has been criticised by being called democratically lacking. The members have a significant amount of power
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President Obama publicly disagreed with the decision but could not change it. The President decides on nominations who are then put under scrutiny while he receives the ‘advise and consent’ of the Senate judiciary committee. There is therefore a small democratic link however it is very weak. Once a Justice is appointed they cannot be removed and are independent of the other political bodies this can be evidenced by Eisenhower’s appointments, a Republican conservative who appointed 2 liberal justices, something he regretted so much so that when asked if there were any regrets after his time in office he replied “I have made two mistakes, and they are both sitting on the Supreme Court”. As stated before the judiciary is independent and once Supreme Justices are appointed they cannot be fired or dismissed this leaves a huge deficit of accountability, a key factor of democracy.

In order for the Supreme Court to be democratically legitimate should be both politically and socially representative. In a diverse country such as the USA it’s extremely difficult to be politically representative however the Court is even less socially representative. There is currently and has only ever been 1 member of the supreme court who is of Hispanic origin compared to the approximately 17% of the population.…

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