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Judicial Review as the Most Crucial of All the Crucial Checks and Balances


Separation of powers as a tool for exerting control over the key aspects of legal relationships within the state and ensuring that justice is implemented is a truly irreplaceable framework. In turn, the checks and balances associated with each of the three branches of power serve a vital purpose of maintaining control over the execution of key legal standards. Although all of the checks and balances have distinctively unique and important values in the context of the three-branch system, a judicial review appears to hold the greatest value since it shapes the principles of interactions within the future legal context.

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Before proceeding with the analysis of the judicial review as an example of checks and balances, defining the rest will be necessary. The presidential veto is the best known of all three due to the ripples that it sends across communities as it is covered in media. By definition, a presidential veto is “the power of the President to refuse to sign legislation” (“The presidential veto and congressional veto override process,” n.d.).

Another essential element of checks and balances, impeachment and removal from office by the legislature needs to be defined to grasp the concept of check and balance as part of the three main branches of power. The concept of impeachment is rather straightforward, and it can be supersized as relieving a president of his or her position and responsibilities due to an egregious instance of misconduct, mismanagement of a specific issue, or any other situation that represents a president in an immoral or illegal light (Walker, 2017). Gerhardt (2018, p. 71) defines impeachment as the removal of “civil officers for a wide range of serious offenses other than high crime and misdemeanors.” Remarkably, the crimes in question must be against the state for an official to warrant an impeachment.

Finally, the concept of a judicial review is required to be defined since it represents an essential part of the checks and balances used in the three-branch government system. As Komesar and Wagner (2017) explain, a judicial review is a court case in which a specific government decision is debated to restore social justice. Therefore, a judicial review can be considered a medium between the legal system of the state and the population to whose needs it was designed to cater.


As a type of checks and balances used to manage the three main branches of the government, the judicial review holds particularly strong significance due to the opportunity to introduce corrections to the existing legislation and shape it based on the multiple nuances of the setting into which it is planted. Moreover, the judicial review serves as the tool for ensuring that the existing branches of power are aware of their limitations and function respectively to address them. For example, a judicial review can lead to the introduction of an amendment into the existing regulation based on the evidence from the current court cases, which show its problems as applied to practice, which implies controlling the current judicial system.

For the same reason, a judicial review as a part of the checks and balances system allows the legislative branch to acknowledge and accept the limitations of the legislative branch of power, which may fail to forecast every possible implication of a certain regulation being introduced. Likewise, the judicial review serves as the method of controlling the executive branch of power by supporting it in overcoming the difficulty of transferring from the theoretical confinements of the legislature to practicing the established laws.

Therefore, performing the role of a mediator, a judicial review provides the chance to amend injustice that may occur as a result of the theory of managing the relationships between people and the government is far too detached from practice. However, the described functionality is not the only reason for declaring the judicial review to be the most important of all checks and balances within the present legal system. Although the costs associated with the use of a judicial review as the means of restoring social justice may represent a significant limitation for the target audience, the power that it provides is essential for keeping the needs of vulnerable groups insight while ensuring that the foundational principles of democracy and the related legal standards are followed.

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Judicial Review in Practice

To understand the effects of a judicial review as a part of the checks and balances within the current system of government, one will need to consider some of the landmark cases that demonstrate the actual use of a judicial review. For this purpose, one may consider the 2017 Matal v. Tam case (Matal v. Tam, 2017). The specified case allowed introducing the amendment to the current system of trademark registration by restricting the range of options to those that do not violate people’s dignity (Gerhardt, 2018). Specifically, the registration of trademarks that could be seen as disparaging of the beliefs, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristics of American citizens, was prohibited according to the court’s decision.

The described case represents the essence of the function of a judicial, review, which is supposed to contribute to shaping the present legal standards so that they would not affect vulnerable groups negatively. The detachment from the real-life implications of specific legal solutions issued by Congress as the product of the legislative and executive power creates an environment in which infringe upon the rights of marginalized populations becomes a threat (Komesar & Wagner, 2017). In turn, judicial reviews allow revisiting the established regulations and introduce corrections that reflect the present state of the legal issues within the country.

Conclusion. Implications and Consequences

As a part of the current checks and balances, a judicial review appears to hold particular importance due to the link between the general population and legal authorities that it provides. Offering people a chance at affecting the existing regulations to make them more applicable o solving practical issues, judicial reviews embody the concept of justice. Moreover, judicial reviews will help to connect the existing theory of legal issues and their management to the actual application of the said theory to a conflict in a specific case. Therefore, further and more detailed insight into how the essential premises of American democracy are implemented in the environment of legal disputes is essential. The specified step allows managing a broad range of social issues, allowing the established notion of justice to be shaped to reflect the need of vulnerable groups. With the focus on promoting equity and supporting underrepresented minorities, a judicial review becomes a powerful tool for ensuring that justice is maintained at all levels of the target community.


Gerhardt, M. J. (2018). Impeachment: What everyone needs to know. Oxford University Press.

Komesar, N., & Wagner, W. (2017). The administrative process from the bottom up: Reflections on the role, if any, for judicial review. Admin. L. Rev., 69, 891.

The presidential veto and congressional veto override process. (n.d.).

Matal vs. Tam, 582 U.S. (2017).

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Walker, C. J. (2017). Lawmaking within federal agencies and without judicial review. Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, 32(2), 551-566.

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