Does The Supreme Court Abuse Its Power? Essay

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Does The Supreme Court Abuse Its Power?


There have been many complaints and theories of how the Supreme Court has a tendency to act as a "supra-legislature" (Woll 153). It is proposed that the Supreme Court takes the
power to make laws and set policies which rightfully belongs to the Congress and state legislatures. They state that Justices exceed their authorized powers of judicial review
and read their own opinions and views into the Constitution and are in fact "politicians in robes" (Woll 533, Sheldon xi).

Alexander Hamilton's definiton of the Supreme Court's power of judicial review was argued in Federalist No. 78.

He states that the main purpose of this power is a check ont he legislature where the
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All these checks on the judicial branch lead to a policy of what is known as judicial self-restraint --where the Court never hands down a decision so controversial that the other two branches seek to reduce the Court's power (Woll 515). On the opposite side, Wolfe and many others feel that this power grabbing has occured:

"This expansion was possible partly because 'seeds'
of a more expansive judicial power were sown in
early American history; ... partly because it was
carried out by a federal judiciary that was on the
whole, characterized by considerable personal and
professional integrity; and partly because such a
change happened to fit nicely the political agenda
of influential groups during the period" (Wolfe 116
-117).

It is true that the Court cannot enforce its decision but must leave this to the executive and legislative branches. For example, when the decision to ban public school prayer came down, many states avoided complying with the "spirit" of the ruling by advocating a "moment of silence" to start off the school day. The Supreme Court banned this also in 1985 by redefining and rewording their intent (Woll 146). However, the Court does rely heavily on social support of their ruling and the reputation of the…