Judicial interpretation

Judicial interpretation is a theory or mode of thought that describes a general approach which the judiciary uses to interpret the law, particularly constitutional documents and legislation. This is a substantive issue in the United States to a greater extent than in other nations because the nation's highest court, the Supreme Court, has the power to overturn laws made by the legislature in a process called judicial review. In effect, the court can decide such matters as the legality of slavery as in the Dred Scott decision, desegregation as in the Brown v Board of Education decision, and abortion rights as in the Roe v Wade decision. As a result, how justices interpret the constitution, and the ways in which they approach this task, has a political aspect. Terms describing types of judicial interpretation can be ambiguous; for example, the term judicial conservatism can vary in meaning depending on what is trying to be "conserved". One can look at judicial interpretation along a continuum from judicial restraint to judicial activism, with various viewpoints along the continuum.

In the United States, there are various methods of constitutional interpretation:

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 John E. Finn (2006). "Part I: Lecture 4: The Court and Constitutional Interpretation". Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights. The Teaching Company. pp. 52, 53, 54.
  2. "The Judiciary: The Power of the Federal Judiciary", The Social Studies Help Center

External links

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