Judicial Review and Interpretation: Have the Courts Become Sovereign When Interpreting the Constitution?

THE INSTITUTIONS OF DEMOCRACY: THE JUDICIAL BRANCH, Kermit Hall, Kevin McGuire, eds., New York: Oxford University Press, 2005

Posted: 9 Sep 2005

See all articles by Keith E. Whittington

Keith E. Whittington

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Abstract

In a sermon preached before King George I in 1717, Bishop Benjamin Hoadly warned, "[W]hoever has an absolute Authority to interpret any written, or spoken Laws; it is He, who is truly the Law-giver, to all Intents and Purposes; and not the Person who first wrote, or spoke them." In the twentieth century United States, Hoadly's warning against ecclesiastical authority has been taken to describe the system of constitutional interpretation and judicial review under the U.S. Constitution. Although the problem of reconciling democracy and constitutionalism is a persistent and complex one, in practice the courts have not become sovereign and displaced republican government.

Keywords: judicial review, judicial activism, democracy, constitutional interpretation

Suggested Citation

Whittington, Keith E., Judicial Review and Interpretation: Have the Courts Become Sovereign When Interpreting the Constitution?. THE INSTITUTIONS OF DEMOCRACY: THE JUDICIAL BRANCH, Kermit Hall, Kevin McGuire, eds., New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=800532

Keith E. Whittington (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States
609-258-3453 (Phone)
609-258-1110 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~kewhitt/

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