What is Judicial Review?

Definition: Judicial review is a power assigned to the judicial branch of the government to review decisions and rulings made by other branches of government or a certain lower court. It is a legal procedure where decisions or rulings are appraised by a higher judicial instance.

What Does Judicial Review Mean?

Judicial review is a core principle of the U.S. legal system. It places a proper check and balances system that enables the Supreme Court to review and rule over legislatives or executives acts. The purpose of this power is to maintain constitutional order, ensuring that no law enacted by these other branches contradict the principles established in the U.S. Constitution. This concept also applies to the different levels of the judiciary branch. A higher court can review the rulings of a lower court.

This frequently takes place when a party appeals a certain ruling. On the other hand, civil courts can also review government agencies’ decisions about the application of certain legislations. Immigration cases or cases involving tax claims are common in this regard. These reviews increase the degree of fairness within the whole judicial environment and protect the population from abuses, negligence or misconducts, since everyone’s decisions can be properly scrutinized.

Example

Moon Restaurants LLC is a company that operates 35 restaurants in the U.S. East Coast. The company is currently involved in a lawsuit from 5 unhappy employees that claim unfair treatments and racial issues within the workplace. The claim passed the hearing stage and the company is now part of a civil trial facing a charge of improper working conditions. The judge decided to rule in favor of the company since no evidence of actual mistreatment could be presented by the victims.

Nevertheless, the 5 employees decided to appeal this decision and moved to a higher court to state their case. According to the principle of judicial review, the higher court’s judge has to review the case to make sure all proper legal steps and measures were taken and the ruling is fair according to the evidence presented.