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Chapter 15

Federal Court Essay

The United States court system was originally intended to be for those of higher rule of the nation, as settling disputes between citizens was a regular part of governing. However, in modern day America, the court system has changed completely; while the courts are still mainly used to settle disputes among citizens, judges are not considered to have great power, therefore they cannot make any decisions between disputes outside of listening to both sides of the argument and then impartially deciding on a solution. Because judges do not have so much power in regard to law making or policies, it is widely debated as to whether or not judges should be allowed to hold more power, or if they should remain in the position they currently hold.

Central to the political system are the two judicial philosophies: judicial activism, and judicial restraint. Those who support judicial activism believe that the courts should go beyond the words of the constitution in order to make better decisions for citizens and for society; this philosophy is essential to conforming politics with the changing times. (text p. 616) Second, there is judicial restraint. Advocates of this idea firmly believe the words of the constitution to remain true, and basically oppose the idea of judges ever having the same level of power as local, state, and federal governments.

In order to pick which side to support, we must remember that the world in which we live in today is completely different from the world in which the Constitution was first created. I would personally advocate for judicial activism; I personally do not believe the Constitution is static. Especially now that America is going through more changes than ever before, with so much diversity and culture appearing in recent years, people are bound to want more flexibility as far as policies go. What is considered moral, or “correct”, so to speak, may not be the same 20 or perhaps even 30 years from now.

In recent years, I feel as though more people have been supporting judicial activism, however, I have not seen many changes as far as power goes. Typically it is higher political figures involved in policy making. I believe the courts still do not have much power simply because it just takes time in order to make such a drastic change in the legal system. As far as consequences go, there have only been positive consequences, as more and more people have been supporting judicial activism, which will then inevitably lead to a change in the future.

Judicial restraint and judicial activism are two philosophies within the court system which basically either support the Constitution verbatim, or want to look past the words of the Constitution and base rules off of societal changes, respectively. I believe society changes with the masses, so the only way we will be able to change what we want to change is to start becoming educated and involved.

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