Historical Perspective—The Judiciary’s Role in American Government. In the early years of the United States, during the debate over whether the Constitution should be ratified, a number of the founders wrote and published essays in favor of or against ratification. Those in favor of the Constitution, known as the Federalists, included Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Essays written by them were later published as The Federalist Papers.
In Federalist Paper No. 78, Hamilton wrote about the role of the judicial branch in the new government fashioned by the framers. To access this essay, go to http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa78.htm. Read the essay and find the section in which Hamilton essentially sets forth the theory of judicial review – the power of the courts to decide whether actions of the other branches of government are (or are not) consistent with the Constitution. Why does Hamilton believe that the courts should have this power?
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