Seeking a Just Judiciary

839 WordsJul 14, 20184 Pages
In recent years, many people in the United States have acquired an oddly tilted concept of how the judicial branch of government should function. Modern consensus postulates that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the Constitution, and that its judgments cannot be challenged or changed except through its own decision (Vieira). Curiously, however, this idea of giving the power of final constitutional interpretation to the judiciary—known in law as “judicial supremacy”—finds no basis in the text of the Constitution itself or in historical opinion. This doctrine is a modern construction, and it poses an unhappily real threat to individual liberties in America. The people of our nation deserve a judiciary that is just in its…show more content…
While one may contend that there were relatively few judicial “power grabs” during the lifetimes of these two presidents, there is a disturbing new legal model that extends the power of the Supreme Court far beyond its traditional authority of constitutional arbitration. In 1965, a landmark case known as Griswold v. Connecticut came before the Supreme Court. The ruling was, as usual, long and technical, but the legal precedent upon which the Court based its holding had many lawyers scratching their heads and reaching for their dictionaries. The Court confidently stated that their holding was based upon the “right to privacy”, which the justices had managed to locate in a “penumbra, formed by emanations from [the Bill of Rights]” (Griswold). The word penumbra, which is used four times in this particular ruling, is not often heard in the field of law, and for good reason. Of all things, it is a Latin astronomical term that roughly translates to “secondary shadow”. Essentially, the 1965 Court was calling the enumerated rights the umbra, or primary shadow, while claiming that there was a separate set of unenumerated rights found in the penumbra (Griswold v. Connecticut). This idea of a constitutional penumbra, which was never suggested before the ruling in Griswold, allows the Supreme Court to invent entirely new rights and constitutional statutes, an ability that extends its powers into
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