The Supreme Court: the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government

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The Supreme Court is the judicial branch of the U.S. Government whose job is to protect and interpret the Constitution. The Supreme Court justices are usually liberals or conservatives. There are a total of nine justices in the Supreme Court: John G. Roberts, Jr., Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Samual A. Alito, Jr., Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Niel M. Gorsuch, and Brett M. Kavanaugh. “The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States.

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As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution” (“About the Court”, 2018). I do believe that the Supreme Court can be an effective way to social change in a Madisonian democratic system. The Supreme Court decision-making process is impacted by two major things, the past decisions of the Supreme Court and the ideology of each justice. (Bianco and Canon, 2017)

The Legal side looks at past decisions made by the Supreme Court in the past in previous court cases. They also use the Constitution as a “strict constitution” where they interpret the Constitution on the words alone. They also need to determine the “original intent” on their own which is the justices interpreting the founder’s words without knowing the true meaning since the wording of the Constitution is unclear. Finally, also looking at the Constitution as a living Constitution. That way the justices can interpret the Constitution in a way that fits with the current situation and position (Bianco, 2017). This is also seen as the Legal model. “The legal model assumes the judge is following the rules and regulations” (“The Strategic Model of Judicial Decision Making”, 2003-2018). Justices also make a decision based on their personal ideology. Since justices tend to fall into labels of conservative and liberal. Those labels than to be a result of which side the justices vote for and the justices ideology. This is also known as the attitudinal model.

“The attitudinal model emphasizes the values and preferences of the judge” (“The Strategic Model of Judicial Decision Making”, 2003-2018). One of the decision-making models is called the Strategic model. The Strategic model is a mix of both the attitudinal model and legal model, where a justice is looking at their ideology and also looking at the legal standing and what they can do with it. “The strategic model is a bit of a combination of the other two. It assumes that, while the judge has personal policy preferences and goals, he or she must realize those within existing legal constraints” (“The Strategic Model of Judicial Decision Making.”, 2003-2018). While making these decisions they have to think if this choice will give them the most desirable outcome and how this will affect the future. Public opinion, as well as interest groups, play an outside role in the decisions of the justices. Interest groups do something called lobbying. Lobbying is when an interest group tries to influence candidates and members with money and services. These interest groups may also try to influence public opinion.

Those who lobby are usually those high in power in trades, associations, and unions. (Britannica) I believe that the Supreme Court plays an important part in the Madisonian democracy because they are the only branch that the members are not elected and once in the Supreme Court they are in the court til death. This is important because Justices won’t make decisions with the thought in their head on what decision they can make to get re-elected and since their job is to interpret the Constitution and they are 1 of the 3 major branches of the government. It is important that their decisions will not be impacted by selfishness and they want to be re-elected for another term since a justice’s term is their entire lifetime. Also because of checks and balances the Supreme Court can declare presidential acts unconstitutional (towards the executive branch) and laws unconstitutional (towards the legislative branch). In conclusion, The Supreme Court is the balance for the legislative and executive branches, who are worried on if they will get re-elected or not, while the Supreme Court justices do not need to worry about that. They also prevent Congress and the president from creating any unconstitutional laws or acts.

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The Supreme Court: The Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government. (2019, Aug 24). Retrieved from