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Examine the claim that the Supreme Court is independent enough to be an effective defender of Civil Liberties.

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Introduction

Examine the claim that the Supreme Court is independent enough to be an effective defender of Civil Liberties. The Supreme Court is a complicated organisation. It is different in many ways from the other branches of government, but there are still similarities and the same factors that affect all three branches equally. What appear at first to be weaknesses of the Supreme Court may not measure up to the not so obvious strengths and advantages that it possesses. The Court plays an important role in the protection of Civil Liberties, but it is debatable whether it is truly independent enough to perform without any bias. It is natural to assume that a Justice of the Supreme Court will have a political position, some stronger than others, but it does not necessarily mean that they are voting in this way for any partisan reasons. The Court is supposed to pass judgement on matters concerning the constitution and their decisions can be of up most significance because a judgment made in a case then affects the whole country. The method by which the Court exercises its power is by Judicial Review. This was established by a case put forward in 1803, known as Marbury v. Madison. It was decided that there had to be a way of settling constitutional disputes, especially when a branch of government or law is being challenged. ...read more.

Middle

The reason for the unwillingness is because they do not want to disrupt their authority, which lays in the public's willingness to accept the Court's decisions. This can be seen as a problem because the Supreme Court therefore cannot make some unpopular, but necessary choices without fear of loosing their legitimacy. However, political cases do not occur very often, an extreme example of when the Supreme Court was required to effectively choose the next president was in 2000 when there was an appeal after Florida's Supreme Court had ruled in favour of Al Gore, suggesting that there should be a recount in that state. The Supreme Court overturned the verdict on the basis that there was not enough time until the president was required to be inaugurated by the constitution. This in effect secured the presidency for George W. Bush. The Justices of the Supreme Court unsurprisingly voted in line with their political persuasions and at four votes dissenting to the five in favour it was as close one could possibly get without failing to produce a result. This not only shows that the Court can perform as a last defence against melt-down, but shows that people were willing to accept the decision as final even though quite understandably a lot of democratically inclined people were not too pleased. But does outline the fact that it is very difficult for members of the Court to remain politically uninvolved in these situations, however rare they may be. ...read more.

Conclusion

influenced by a political group or party directly; it can be counted on that the Justices will tend to vote in the same manner more often than not. The Supreme Court does not have a means to uphold their rulings and must rely in the population to abide by the decisions out of good will. This can be seen as a problem because the Court may then be afraid to do something unpopular for fear of loosing their authority, but then again whether they make a liberal or conservative judgment it will still receive support and usually general acceptance for the good of the system. This also means that the Court is still independent, because even if the population did and sometimes does influence the outcome of a verdict it is still acting in the majorities favour and therefore sufficiently upholding the Civil Liberties of one or more people. The fact that the Court has ruled against federal and state laws on many occasions also shows that they are not afraid to stand up for the Civilian population against other structures of government. The Court is certainly a force to be reckoned with and critics complain that America is 'governed by the Judiciary'. This may have valued points but if the Court was less powerful of influential it would not be sufficiently equipped to uphold the rights and Civil Liberties of the public. ?? ?? ?? ?? Michael Steele 1 ...read more.

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