4 Ways the Supreme Court Shapes U.S. Politics: The Power, Impact, and Controversy of its Decisions

The United States Supreme Court is the highest in the land. Its decisions are binding and can have a profound impact on the country. This article will explore the power of the Supreme Court and how its decisions shape U.S. politics.

What is the Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court is made up of nine justices who are appointed for life by the president. These justices are responsible for interpreting the Constitution and determining if laws are constitutional. The Supreme Court is said to have both judicial and political power.

Judicial Power

The judicial power of the Supreme Court was established in Marbury v. Madison in 1803. The Court ruled that it has the power to declare laws unconstitutional. This power, known as judicial review, allows the Court to interpret the Constitution and determine if laws comply with it.

The power of judicial review has been used by the Supreme Court to strike down laws that it deems to be unconstitutional. For example, in 1954, the Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This decision helped to end legal segregation in the United States.

Political Power

The political power of the Supreme Court comes from its ability to shape policy through its decisions. Decisions made by the Court can have far-reaching implications for the country. For example, in 2012, the Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. This decision significantly impacted the implementation of the law and health care policy in the United States.

The Power of the Supreme Court

The power of the Supreme Court can be seen in several ways. These include:

1. Reviewing laws

As mentioned earlier, the Supreme Court has the power to review laws passed by Congress and determine if they are constitutional. This allows the Court to strike down laws deemed to violate the Constitution. This power ensures that the government operates within the bounds of the Constitution and that individual rights are protected.

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2. Setting a legal precedent

The Supreme Court sets legal precedents with its decisions. Precedent refers to previous court rulings that serve as a guide for future cases. This means that a decision made by the Supreme Court can have implications for future cases. For example, the Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade set a precedent for abortion rights in the United States.

3. Shaping public opinion

The decisions made by the Supreme Court can shape public opinion on a particular issue. For example, the Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education helped to shift public opinion on segregation. This decision helped to bring attention to the issue of racial equality and led to the Civil Rights Movement.

4. Balancing power

The Supreme Court serves as a check on the power of the other branches of government. The Court has the power to strike down laws passed by Congress and executive actions taken by the president. This ensures that the government operates within the bounds of the Constitution and that individual rights are protected.

Supreme Court decisions that have shaped U.S. politics

The decisions made by the Supreme Court have had a profound impact on U.S. politics. Here are a few notable examples:

1. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Court ruled that corporations and unions have the same free speech rights as individuals regarding political spending. This decision led to the rise of super PACs and increased the amount of money in politics. Many argue that this decision has hurt U.S. politics and has given wealthy individuals and corporations too much influence over the political process.

2. Roe v. Wade (1973)

In Roe v. Wade, the Court ruled that abortion is a constitutional right. This decision had a significant impact on reproductive rights in the United States. It also helped to shape the political debate around abortion and has played a role in presidential elections.

3. Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

In Brown v. Board of Education, the Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This decision helped to pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement and played a role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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4. Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry. This decision had a significant impact on LGBTQ+ rights in the United States and helped to shift public opinion on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court is a powerful institution that plays a significant role in U.S. politics. Its decisions can profoundly impact the country and shape public opinion on a particular issue. The power of the Supreme Court is derived from its ability to interpret the Constitution and determine if laws comply with it. Its decisions serve as a guide for future cases and help to shape policy in the United States.

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