How Influential is the Supreme Court of the United States?
Only a few institutions are accredited with establishing and confounding political and democratic change in the scope of the United States. The American Supreme Court is uniquely situated to inhibit or enhance political reforms, dismantle or preserve social inequalities, and suppress or expand individuals’ basic rights. However, although various judicial activists have claimed its victory and critiques and complaints on undemocratic lawmaking processes, various studies have cited it as a comparatively small component of the United States’ federal government. However, it is astonishing that the court has sometimes become so powerful.
The fact that the Supreme Court has become so powerful does not reflect the best aspect of democracy. In fact, most individuals would be surprised to hear that the Supreme Court of America, in its original structuring, was not meant to be extremely influential. In order to understand this, it is imperative to look at the transformation of the Supreme Court. The court was originally intended to govern the American federal law court system (Hall, 25). It was made of only six judges who listened to petitions from the federal courts. In fact, under the said premises, the court was inactive; hence, there was a need to create the powers the court possess today.
It was not after some time that the court resolved to seize power to determine the constitutionality of various aspects. The question that should be answered is that if the Supreme Court seized its power to rule on the law constitutionality, then where did all these powers and the prominence came from? Indeed, the court clutched power from the states, the president, and Congress. According to article VI of the American constitution, the constitutional establishment and the American Laws will be made in the enactment, and will become the law of the land. Therefore, any law made by lawmakers is constitutional unless proven otherwise. In reaction to this, the judicial review was born, which aimed at turning the American constitution on its head (Killian et al. 131). Therefore, the constitution should offer the Supreme power of the American land, not the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is not democratic in nature. Two main features that support this idea are; though it is not a traditional institution, it has always been a leading one. True to say is that they make sense when determining legitimate technical enquiries. However, democracy is doubted when proficient elites comprehend the meaning of equality and liberty. The other feature lies in the fact that the court is intertwined with its locale as the highly respected governmental branch and has more power than the congress and the president.
Despite the fact that the court has unelected judges, there are various things that it can do to protect democracy. One of the things that the Supreme Court can do is to clarify its role and boundaries. The wide range of the court’s failure arises from its lack of a clear, lucid articulation of the appropriate role and its function. In addition, the court should come up with merit-based criteria of judges’ selection. In essence, the Supreme Court can hurt democracy if it makes decisions that distort the constitution and the individual rights of the citizens. Therefore, the court should not prevent commonsense rule to protect representative self-government.
Hall, M E K. The nature of Supreme Court power. 2010.
Killian, Johnny H, and George Costello. The Constitution of the United States of America. 2004. Print.