What Does Judicial Review Mean?

Learn what judicial review means and how it impacts our legal system. Explore examples, case studies, and statistics on the importance of judicial review in upholding democracy and protecting individual rights.


When it comes to checks and balances in a democratic system, judicial review plays a crucial role. But what exactly does judicial review mean and how does it impact our legal system?

Definition of Judicial Review

Judicial review is the power of a court to review the actions of the executive and legislative branches of government and determine whether they are constitutional. This means that courts have the authority to invalidate laws, regulations, and government actions that are found to be in violation of the constitution.

Importance of Judicial Review

Judicial review is essential for maintaining the balance of power between the branches of government and ensuring that no branch oversteps its authority. It serves as a safeguard against authoritarianism and protects the rights of individuals against government infringement.

Examples of Judicial Review

One of the most famous examples of judicial review is the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803. In this case, the Supreme Court established the principle of judicial review when it declared that a law passed by Congress was unconstitutional.

Case Studies

In more recent times, the Supreme Court has exercised judicial review in cases such as Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage across all states. These cases demonstrate how judicial review can shape the legal landscape and protect individual rights.


According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 54% of Americans believe that the Supreme Court should have the final authority to determine the constitutionality of laws, highlighting the importance of judicial review in our legal system.


As we can see, judicial review plays a crucial role in upholding the principles of democracy and protecting individual rights. It serves as a check on the power of the government and ensures that laws and actions are in line with the constitution. Without judicial review, our legal system would lack the necessary safeguards to prevent government abuse of power.

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