Explain the factors that limit the power and influence of the supreme court (15 mark)
The Supreme Court, being part of the judicial branch of government is the highest federal court in the US, ensuring that both the legislature and the executive act in accordance with the constitution. However, due to the separation of powers, checks and balances have been placed upon the Supreme Court to ensure that it too acts in accordance with the constitution. Therefore the power and influence of the Supreme Court is limited as a result of the checks which are placed on it and the boundaries set by the constitution.
Montesquieu’s separation of powers ensures checks and balances between each branch of government.
* montesquieuThe President nominates Supreme Court justices
* Senate has the power to approve or reject these nominations
* Impeachment power (House)
* Trial of impeachments (Senate)
* Power to initiate constitutional amendments (to undo supreme court decisions)
* Power to write new legislation
* Authority to create courts inferior to the Supreme Court
* Authority to set jurisdiction of courts (limiting the Court's ability to hear certain types of cases)
* Authority to alter the size of the Supreme Court (may change the balance of power within the Court)
The Supreme Court is also bound by practical considerations not set forth in the Constitution.
General limitations include the Court's inability to enforce its rulings, or to initiate judicial review of legislation. The Court is required to wait until a party who has been directly and significantly injured by the legislation challenges its constitutionality.
Under most circumstances, a case must progress through the lower courts before the justices can consider the issue. Even then, they are limited to hearing issues that can be remediated by the Court, and that represent actual controversies, rather than situations that are hypothetical or moot. These restrictions...