Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  • Explain judicial review, how it developed in the United States, how it is used to enforce the rule of law, and why judicial independence is vital.
  • Describe the structure of the U.S. court system and identify the advantages and disadvantages of this type of system.
  • Examine how a case reaches and gets decided by the Supreme Court.
  • Understand the impact of judicial philosophy on how Supreme Court justices decide cases and craft legal opinions.
  • Identify the range of limits placed on the Supreme Court to prevent it from overreaching or abusing its power.
  • Compare and contrast the criteria used to select judges at the state and federal levels.