Reflective Writing

| February 25, 2017

Responses should be based on your review of both videos Marbury v. Madison video and Inside the Supreme Court video.

Copy and paste the two links below, in order to watch the two videos needed to complete this assignment.

Marbury v. Madison Case :
Frontline Inside the Supreme Court Documentary:

After watching both of these videos students will write a minimum of 1 page in length, double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point font critical analysis, responding to the following prompts in a reflective manner. Good papers should include at least 2 examples, from the video to to support their assessment. Students must provide bibliographic and parenthetical citations for any direct or paraphrased ideas and quotes used in their paper. Failure to provide documentation (you may use MLA, APA or Chicago, as long as you are consistent) will result in an automatic 0 and may not be made up.

Keeping in mind that the founding fathers gave little thought to the Federal Court’s power. This is evident in that compared to Article I (Congress/Legislative Branch) and Article II (President/Executive Branch), Article III of the constitution is the shortest in length. Recall, the framer’s purpose and function for establishing a federal court system. They were seeking to create an independent judiciary

Only during the ratification debates in the states did political writers more fully explore the Constitution’s definition of judicial independence. The most famous commentary came in The Federalist essays of Alexander Hamilton, who argued that “the complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution,” by which he meant a Constitution that placed limits on the authority of all government officeholders. The judiciary’s responsibility, according to Hamilton, was to enforce the people’s will as expressed in the Constitution and thus to prevent the abuse of power by the executive and especially the legislature. “Permanent tenure” was the most important foundation of the courts’ role as “bulwarks . . . against legislative encroachments.”

A prominent Anti-Federalist critic of the Constitution acknowledged the importance of judicial independence as secured by service during good behavior, but “Brutus” also recognized that the judicial independence envisioned by the Constitution was unprecedented. Judges would be removable only by impeachment and conviction of “high crimes and misdemeanors” rather than by a vote of the legislature, as was the case in most other governments with judicial tenure during good behavior. “Brutus” warned that regardless of errors of judgment or inability to carry out their duties, federal judges would be “independent of the people, of the legislature, and of every power under heaven.” He also worried that these largely unaccountable judges would have the final say on the meaning of the Constitution, but Hamilton and other framers of the proposed government thought that the courts’ responsibility to determine the constitutionality of laws, and thus to protect individual rights, was precisely the reason for the extraordinary protections of judicial independence. Hamilton dismissed concerns about unchecked judicial power, since the courts had “no influence over either the sword or the purse.” (

Choose 1 of the following to write about. Papers should be argumentative, in favor or opposition of one position presented in the question. Papers must include at least 1 example from the film and 1 example from Article III of the U.S. Constitution, to offer support for their position.

Describe how power of the Supreme Court has changed, by comparing the power of the first court (Marshall’s court) to the present day court (CSPAN video Roberts Court) to analyze whether the power of this particular court has either remained consistent or overstepped the function and purpose intended by the framers.
In your own words, explain the meaning, power and purpose behind the term Judicial Review and assess whether this is or is not within the bounds of the Supreme Court’s constitutional power.
There are two competing ways justices make decisions and interpret the constitution: judicial restraint or judicial activism. Explain the differences between these two approaches of interpreting the constitution and decision making, and based on the personal interviews of each justice, given in the CSPAN video, provide an example of a justice whose decision-making behavior you would predict to model each of the two types of decision making behaviors.

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