Checks and Balances of the US Judiciary example

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Checks and Balances of the US Judiciary

Judicial branch in the US, which consists of Supreme Courts and other federal courts, exists together with legislative and executive, in order to protect the power from usurpation. That is why three branches of power in the US check and balance each other. The judiciary in the US applies these checks and balances to prevent usurpation by two other branches of power. For that purpose, it performs following functions.

The first function is judicial review. In Federalist 78 Hamilton suggested that particular statute contravening Constitutional provisions must be disregarded. Nevertheless, it this function is not directly mentioned in Constitution. It was established in of the Judiciary Act Sec. 25, which embodied the Supreme Court with right to review whether decisions of lower courts adhere the Constitution. Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803) was the first case when the US Supreme Court applied judicial review finding a law issued by the legislator unconstitutional.

Except review whether laws and bylaws are constitutional, the judiciary binds other branches with interpretation. This right was proclaimed in Martin v. Hunter Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816) when the Court held its primacy in constitutional interpretation. It means that the US Supreme Court issues official interpretation of legislative and executive acts.

The Judiciary considers cases where the United States, particular state or its public officials act as parties. This right is delegated to the judiciary by the U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1. That is the mean how the judiciary verifies whether the representatives of the executive branch act in accordance with law.

To make a conclusion, the US judiciary as a part of power checks and balances legislative and executive branches. These checks and balances are ensured by the judiciary’s functions. Such functions as judicial review and constitutional interpretation are established by court precedents. The US Constitution directly delegates to the judiciary considering case where public officials itself or as representatives of the state act as parties.


Alexander Hamilton, John Jay & James Madison, Federalist 78, in The Federalist 405 (Alexander Hamilton 1 ed. 2001).

Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).

Martin v. Hunter Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816).

U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. …

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