As an arbiter between the rights and liberties of the individual and the exercise of power by society, the Supreme Court hasA. Sided consistently with individualsB. Acted in an inconsistent manner...

As an arbiter between the rights and liberties of the individual and the exercise of power by society, the Supreme Court has
A. Sided consistently with individuals
B. Acted in an inconsistent manner over the course of American history
C. Supported government power in the 1800s, but has been consistently on the side of the individual since 1900
D. Leaned toward protection of the individual in the nineteenth century, but has consistently favored government power since then
E. Generally concerned itself with cases involving judicial review

which is the correct answer? thanks!

Asked on by latour

2 Answers | Add Yours

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is something of a broad question because it is open to interpretation.  It would be a good idea for you to look in your text or your class notes to see how your instructor expects you to answer.  My answer is that Option B is the best choice.  I believe that Option B is the best answer because I cannot agree with all of Option C, which is the next-best choice.

It would be possible to argue that the Supreme Court has been more interested in individual rights in the 20th and 21st centuries than it was in the 19th century. However, I do not think it is possible to argue that the Court has been “consistently” on the side of the individual ever since 1900.  For example, the Court ruled against freedom of speech in Schenck v. United States in 1919 and in cases having to do with the Red Scare of the early 1950s.  The Court ruled against Americans of Japanese descent when they sued over internment in WWII.  It ruled against the right to homosexual conduct in the 1980s, though it did reverse itself more recently.  In the famous Kelo case it gave the government greater power to seize people’s property under the power of eminent domain.  The Court has been more inclined to side with the individual since 1900, but it has not been consistently on the side of the individual.

Instead, I would argue that Option B is a better answer.  The Court has changed its mind many times over the years as its personnel have changed and as different ideas have come to prevail in American society.  It has generally moved towards the idea of greater individual freedom, but that movement has not been completely consistent.

However, it would still be a good idea to check your class materials because other people might make an argument for Option C.

Sources:
kanepoole54's profile pic

kanepoole54 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

It depends on your personal view, and how you see the Justice system.

For other people the answer will be different than say my own.

It all depends on your believe system and what you think of certain cases during certain historic times.

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