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Judicial Review

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The courts of law have powers to review the actions of both the executive and the legislative arms of governance. This act of review of the actions of both the executive and the legislative branches of government is known as judicial review. The supremacy clause bounds judges to the restriction that, “the laws of the state may not violate the constitution and that all state courts must uphold the national law through judicial review.” This implies that as much as the courts have powers to review the actions of both the executive and the legislative branches of the government, such powers should not violate the stipulations of the constitution. This ensures that the rule of the law is applicable in the review as a mode of embracing democracy. The essence of this paper is to depict articulation of democracy in judicial review systems in cases involving impeachment of judges.

Firstly, the judicial review is democratic as it is evident that the president appoints judges “by and with the consent of the senate.” Consequently, the decisions of the judges are independent from the views of the president, which provides room for service of duty without prejudice. By consideration, the conventional method of impeachment of judges was the sole jurisdiction of the president. However, the judicial review has attracted the influence of the press and advocacy groups, which are pillars of influence to the decisions of the senate to impeach a judge. This implies that the judicial review has seen a rising number of decision makers, which elucidates democracy. For instance, Samuel Chase was impeached in March 1804 by the House of Representatives. Such a case was quelled by the move of the senate due to the influence of the advocacy groups. These advocacy groups were the voice of the people in influencing the decision of the senate.

On the other hand, the judicial review has seen a change of stipulations of the tenure systems of a judge shift from the conventional “holding offices during good behavior” to the restriction that, “unless appointed during a senate recess.” This additional clause adds value to the conduct and term of office of the judge. The most recent case of impeachment of a judge serving under the restrictions of such a tenure system is William O Douglas, who was a subject of both the 1953 hearings and the 1970 hearings. Even though this move of impeachment did not culminate in a vote in the house, it was a viable tool for relaying sanity in the mode of conduct of the Supreme Court judges. This move elucidated democracy in the essence that it shaped the behavior and expectations of the justice systems through providing a platform for follow-up of the rule of the law.

In cases where a judge is incapacitated by any form of ailment or injury, unable to resume office even after the ailment or in cases of unpredictable timing, the judicial review system provides room for a replacement with the consent of the senate house. Consequently, the decision of impeachment of such an incapacitated judge lies in the influence of both the press and advocacy groups. Such a process elucidates democracy as such a move would not attract the prevalence of democracy if it were to be the sole jurisdiction of the president or the senate. Consequently, the process of judicial review provides time stipulations for such replacements, which saves time wasted between the transition periods. Such a case was the transition of office between Powell, Jr. and Hugo Black. The case of transition would have taken lengthy periods were it not for the intervention of the law courts in the legislative and executive decisions, which implies that judicial review systems uphold democracy.

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