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Direct Elections, Judicial Review, Separation of Power

Define the concept of judicial review. How does a court decision involving judicial review differ from an ordinary court decision, such as a ruling in a case involving armed robbery?

Judicial review refers to the power the court has to declare any law or the decision made by the government as constitutional or unconstitutional. A case involving a judicial review is different from a normal case like ruling on an armed robbery case due to the differences in laws leading to the decision. In a normal ruling, the laws are set and define the crime and the consequence (Peterson, 2019). However, in a judicial review case, there is a conflict of law wherein one law where the government has prohibited something that does not violet any constitutional provisions. For example, in the case of slavery, racism where the offender received an unfair judgment for asking for their rights as stated Bill of rights in the constitution but are not termed wrong because they are of a different race or ethnicity. The judicial review aims at righting the wrong that has been established by the government entity causing the inferiority syndrome in a certain group of people like the case of Brown vs. Board of Educators.

Contrast the original system for electing federal officials with the system of today, noting in each case whether voters have acquired a more direct voice in the election process than was originally the case.

The original system provided for a representative government where the members of the House of the Representatives were directly voted by the people. This was the only one with members directly elected by voters. In addition, senators were appointed by the legislatures of their states the original system also evolved to have direct election of senators using the primary elections to elect party nominees by the voters. The current system is more of a representative with the Electoral College electing the president on behalf of the people that are the members of the congress have a direct vote in their election while the president is elected indirectly through the representatives. Before voters lacked direct control in the election of the president and the president was elected through the popular vote but currently, they are more involved hence the majority influence rule in the election process (Peterson, 2019).

Why is it more accurate to say that the U.S. has a system of "separated institutions sharing power" rather than a system of "separated powers"? Provide examples of how shared power can act to check and balance the power of each institution.

The US constitution framers promoted the separation of powers among the three branches of the government that is the legislature, judiciary, and executive. However, they ensured each branch has a share of power of the two to keep all the systems in check under what they believed was “sharing of power” among the three branches. This was aimed at creating a system of balances and checks in the government to ensure no branch can use its power beyond the constitutionally assigned powers. An example is the veto power of the president over the congress and the ability of Congress to impeach the president as well as the judicial review (Peterson, 2019).


Thomas E. Peterson. (2019). We the People: An Introduction to American Government. 14th Edition. McGraw Hill LLC.

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