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Do you think the federal courts and their use of judicial review advance or impede democracy? Should federal courts be independent, or should they serve the elected branches of government? Should judges play an active role in politics by making laws in the process of evaluating the constitutionality of those passed by Congress and the executive branch?  

One argument in favor of the view that the federal courts' judicial review advances democracy is that reviewing the constitutionality of a legislative act is a check on the power of legislators who have been elected to serve the people's interests.

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As these are opinion questions, you will need to consider your personal views for each, but here are some ideas and my personal opinions to help get you thinking.

Federal courts have a legitimate power of judicial review. Judicial review allows federal courts to assess the constitutionality of a legislative...

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As these are opinion questions, you will need to consider your personal views for each, but here are some ideas and my personal opinions to help get you thinking.

Federal courts have a legitimate power of judicial review. Judicial review allows federal courts to assess the constitutionality of a legislative act and issue a ruling based on their interpretation. This ability ensures that legislators are enacting laws that are constitutional and in the interests of the people who elected them, since judges can declare laws to be unconstitutional if those laws violate the rights of people. Upholding the rights of people is undoubtedly democratic, so judicial review advances democracy in this interpretation.

Judges on the court must be independent in order to properly interpret the language of the Constitution and make difficult decisions that can affect the lives of everyday people. If a special interest influences the mind of a judge to rule a certain way and that special interest does not fight for the rights of the people, then that judge is unfairly interpreting the laws. If a judge serves the elected branches of government, the process becomes political, and the law is not concerned with politics. It is concerned with the rights and privileges that are protected in the Constitution. Although judicial review can be abused, special interests are far more likely to abuse the process and become undemocratic than judicial review.

In my opinion, if judges play an active role in making laws instead of interpreting laws, then many of them are acting as judicial tyrants if they are not elected. Judges who are not elected by the people and make decisions that affect the rights and privileges of people are ruling as kings and queens from the bench. That is not democratic and not an appropriate role of an independent judge. Most people agree that the law should be interpreted by judges insofar as there is a legitimate difference of legal opinion, but judges should not be acting as legislators in place of the elected people who make laws.

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