Definition of Judicial Review

Judicial review is a vital tool for upholding the constitutionality of laws and actions by the government. Learn more about its importance and impact through examples, case studies, and statistics.

What is Judicial Review?

Judicial review is the power of the courts to review the actions of the executive and legislative branches of government to determine if they are constitutional. It is a fundamental principle of the rule of law and is essential for maintaining the separation of powers in a democratic society.

How Does Judicial Review Work?

When a law or government action is challenged in court, the judiciary has the authority to determine its constitutionality. This involves interpreting the constitution and assessing whether the law or action is in line with its provisions. If the court finds that the law is unconstitutional, it can declare it null and void.

Examples of Judicial Review

One of the most famous cases of judicial review is Marbury v. Madison in 1803, where the U.S. Supreme Court established its authority to review laws passed by Congress and to invalidate them if they are found to be unconstitutional. Another example is Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, where the Supreme Court declared that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

Case Studies

  • Obergefell v. Hodges (2015): The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, overturning state bans on gay marriage.
  • Roe v. Wade (1973): The Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide by ruling that laws prohibiting it violated a woman’s constitutional right to privacy.

Statistics on Judicial Review

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down an average of about two laws per year since 1980. This shows the significant impact that judicial review has on the legislative process and the protection of individual rights.

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