Legal Brief: The Historic Supreme Court
According to Alexander Hamilton, the powers granted to the federal courts were to be viewed with magnanimity because the Supreme Court was vested with “neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment.” Hamilton’s famous description of the federal judiciary as the “least dangerous” branch of government is quoted only ironically. Fast forward 200 years and it is the Supreme Court that is deciding nearly every important question of legal, political, and even social significance. From Roe v. Wade, to the definition of marriage, to how the government must detain enemy combatants in the war on terror, it is the Supreme Court who decides.
The problem, of course, is that the judiciary is unelected and thus unaccountable. When the federal courts strike down a law of Congress, they invalidate the decisions made by the People’s representatives.