Under Review

           In a political era ruled by recalcitrance and negligence, it is reassuring to see some action of governance in the United States of America. During the 11th hour of the Supreme Court of United States’ (SCOTUS) session in June 2015, nine appointed judges did what 539 elected officials have collectively failed to do…….govern.

Unfortunately, a multitude of US citizens do not know the name of those nine judges currently seated on the SCOTUS. It is only the highest court in the country and arguably the most powerful of the three branches of the United States government constructed by its Founding Fathers for the purpose of governing the great ideal known across the globe as America.  No, really, no need for excitement, awe or even a morsel  of respect.  Uh …… Hello!  Wake Up!  Yes! The SCOTUS is extremely important.  I digress.

Oh well, let us continue. Unsurprisingly, the controversy generated by the historic landmark decisions made by SCOTUS this year, is not far removed from the controversy that surrounded the authority of the SCOTUS’ first judicial review when the power of this process was first asserted in Maybury v. Madison in 1803.

     Briefly, a judicial review is the U.S. Supreme Court’s legal analysis of an action by the legislative or executive branch of the U.S. Government. The purpose of this examination is to determine the constitutionality of that action and declare it valid or invalid by the standards of what the Constitution grants and withholds. 

Undoubtedly, the court’s decision consequently sets precedence and in effect becomes the law. Due to the political nature of most issues under review in recent years, the subsequent authority the court receives, by default of the judicial review process, has been heavily debated, questioned and criticized since Mabury v. Madison in 1803.

In accordance with the true intention of  the separation of powers and the checks and balances detailed in the U.S. Constitution, it is imperative that the U.S. Supreme Court’s power of judicial review remain as it is and not be limited by a constitutional amendment. An action of that nature would disrupt the balance of powers.

With that being said, in an effort to scale the enormous power and influence of the justices and the judicial review, sadly, many citizens, in the U.S., abroad and in general, neglect to fully understand the definition and meaning of the word justice.

     In addition, also overlooked and/or misunderstood are its connotations and the laws written and constructed by humans for the purpose of maintaining order and governing citizens and society as a whole.  In short, justice is just or fair treat-ment/behavior; the quality of being fair and reasonable.  By the way, surely most were aware that lady justice was blind or blind folded, but she is also pack in’ a sword!  Hmmmmm.  That’s interesting.

Unlike justice, the “law” is imperfect and may not always get it right.   At the same time, the “truth” and subsequent measure of action the populous suggests should be taken in order for a ruling or decision to be “just”, may not always be revealed in the court of law or its rulings.

More specifically, the truth, which may never be revealed in a court of law, shines brightly upon justice. However, the ruling or the decisions made by our courts based upon the law of the land, merely lurk in the shadows. These cracks and crevices of imperfection, uncertainty and darkness exist in justice’s shadow. A shadow which is cast from truth’s blinding light. 

So, while the law may not be the truth or the justice the court often seeks, it is man’s best possible path to achieving what is just and true. How that path is navigated depends on the those who interpret the law. Here in the United States of America, that power and the responsibility chained to it, rests solely in the hands of the SCOTUS.

     Admittedly, the judicial review is subjective and often ambiguous by nature. Surely, the judiciary decision of the highest court in the land, on any issue, controversial or not, strictly depends on the beliefs and philosophy of the justices serving at that particular time. This is applicable to both liberal and conservative SCOTUS justices.

Nevertheless, when you have a legislative that refuses to write laws and is daft on a good day, the American citizenry should be grateful for the SCOTUS and its judicial review. Consider the alternative.

 

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