/* Am I A Pundit Now?: Is Judicial Review A Bad Thing?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Is Judicial Review A Bad Thing?

Just listening to Mark Levin on WABC-770 AM New Yawk City, going on about the evils of judicial review.

In the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, John Marshall stated that his Supreme Court had the power to decide whether legislation is constitutional or not, thus establishing judicial review. I am intrigued by the conservative view that judicial review is a bad thing, as if removing this power is the key to preventing the court from making bad decisions. It would do that, but it would also prevent the court from making nearly any decisions at all. What we would be left with, then, is a Congress that has the final say on what laws are constitutional. Are we really better off that way?

Conservatives often get hung up on the words of the Constitution, without thinking through the necessary logical implications of those words. Judicial review is a great example. True, the Constitution does not say whether or not the Supreme Court has final say on the constitutionality of legislation. Had the founding fathers opposed it, no doubt they would have forbidden it directly in the Constitution. Judicial review was not an unknown concept at the time.

Without the power of judicial review, the Supreme Court becomes a nullity, and Congress has the final say on the constitutionality of its own legislation. No check, no balance. How different things would be, and no doubt conservatives would be railing against decades of bad law that the democrats would no doubt have cooked up during the years they were in charge of Congress. Maybe giving the Supreme Court the final say is really not such a bad thing.

7:14 PM | | |