As common day Americans, we are constantly reminded that our Constitution is the true basis of our country, the United States.
It is what guaranteed us our freedom, and has created a platform of rule and order in our common day lives. Each branch of government has had its own role in fulfilling the “seemingly impossible” duties imposed upon the newly formed US government, stated in the Preamble. Although whether they’ve completely fulfilled the goals inscribed in ink is debatable, the judicial branch (Article III) has had much more of a significant role in ensuring that the Constitution is followed in the most accurate way.
The judicial branch’s main role is to determine whether laws are constitutional or not, as well as the interpretation of them. One of the main goals of the Constitution stated in the Preamble, was to “ensure domestic tranquility” (Constitution, Preamble). The judicial branch, as many know, is composed of 9 judges, who are appointed by the president. These judges are expected to create a rationale of any laws passed that many may feel as if they were unconstitutional or not. In this process, the 9 judges appointed must make a decision on whether a law proposed by Congress or the Senate is deemed as reasonable. This process is seen as a very important aspect to achieving this ideology of a tranquil society at the domestic level, especially when and if a law created by the possibly corrupt or malnourished legislators in Washington D.C is passed, without the approval of the Supreme Court, and later enforced by the executive branch, without a shadow of a doubt, there will be a select amount of American individuals, creating protest and an upheaval in the government. With the Supreme Court’s influence in our government, the idea of a tranquil society is promoted and valued, just like in the Preamble.
Another aspect in which the judicial branch also strictly follows the Constitution is through the value of justice, something that Americans have dealt with for a long time under British colonization. The preamble also states the establishment of justice is also a very important goal that needed to be achieved, especially after the very unreasonable and immoral ruling of the British government over the American colonists from the 17th century until the 18th century. We’ve seen many situations of injustice in our country, from the era of British colonization up until the Civil Rights era. Through these times, there has been a multitude of court cases elevated up to the Supreme Court, such as the Brown v. Board of Education case, or Mapp v. Ohio. I n Mapp v Ohio, state police were given information that a bombing participant was spotted at Dollree Mapp’s home in Cleveland. She refused to have the police search the home, and this lead the police to create a fake warrant, authorizing them to search the home. They soon discovered that Mapp possessed nude photographs of herself, and was later arrested for 7 years. Despite her arrest, she claimed that she had a right to hold onto these obscene photographs through the First Amendment- the Court later decided that the photographs should not be used against her in her trial. Some can make an argument that the rulings of cases like these are completely unreasonable, immoral or acts of stupidity, in our time, but to have made a lawfully authorized decision that may not satisfy BOTH parties (plaintiff and defendant), and create reasoning as to where and who gets their justice in what could’ve been a very difficult situation as far as what is right and what is wrong, and through this they also must consider the fundamentals in which the Constitution was written upon. They go through this process on a constant basis and are truly establishing justice in what may seem like a very tedious process, whether it be for the accused or unaccused. Someone will end up getting their merited right of justice in a country that promotes it.
For the past 3 centuries, the United States has been seen as a country that along with justice, secures individual liberty & all of its benefits for all people who live in the country. The judicial branch creates the interpretation of our liberty, just as they do for all the other laws created by the legislative branch. Despite this, the judicial branch’s role in the US government supports the process of legislature by interpreting how a law should be followed. This process also relates to human rights, especially in the US; we don’t see companies who have little national interest in mind, tax others, because of the Constitution. This promotes the general idea of a merited liberty for citizens as well- not being held down by taxes imposed by others who aren’t in much power. Through the Constitution, we are given our rights to liberty, and we are also given a proper interpretation of what or how it should be followed, through the judicial branch.
The judicial branch also plays a very important role in the promotion of “general welfare”, as stated in the Preamble (Constitution, Preamble). The ideology of general welfare is sought after the people of the country. The Supreme Court looks out for laws that do not support the fundamentals of the Constitution, striking them down and interpreting the ones that do support those fundamentals. Through this process, the Supreme Court creates laws that can, but do not or may not always benefit the individual persona, but from a broader perspective, they create an interpretation that benefits the country’s people as a whole rather than the individual. The general welfare of Americans in some cases can be overlooked by other branches, especially through the legislative branch, who do have the possibility of proposing an immoral or corrupt law that may not promote the general welfare of Americans. This is where the judicial branch’s role is significant. If the legislative branch creates an immoral law that doesn’t coincide with the beliefs and values of the Constitution, the judicial branch must analyze and interpret whether this law should be enforced by the executive branch. If it isn’t, then the law could be refused and taken back for revision, although that isn’t always the case.
Overall, the judicial branch has played a vital role in formulating the US government to what it is today. They fulfill the roles of the preamble, through their role in national affairs, such as court cases.
- Administrative Office of US Courts. “The U.S. Constitution: Preamble.” United States Courts, 2019, www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/ activity-resources/us.
- NCC Staff. “10 Supreme Court Cases about the 14th Amendment.” National Constitution Center – Constitutioncenter.org, 2019, constitutioncenter.org/blog/10-huge-supreme-court-cases-about-the-14th-amendment.
- O’Connor, Sandra Day. “The Importance of Judicial Independence.” Stanford Law School, 2008, law.stanford.edu/stanford-lawyer/articles/the-importance-of-judicial-independence/.