Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. David Houghton

Second Advisor

Dr. David Houghton

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of this thesis is to find some rational justification for the existence of the Supreme Court and its power of judicial review within a democratic framework of government. The avenue I take to complete this task involves two aspects: (1) questioning the validity of American democracy, and (2) examining the effectiveness of various influences or restraints on the power of the Court.

My conclusions are somewhat mixed. First of all, I feel it more accurate to refer to American government not as a democracy but as a constitutional democracy. In that respect, we are a government with limited power.

Secondly, there are various influences or restraints on the power of the Court that exist within the Constitution and outside of it. Historically, on several occasions, the Court's power has been curtailed by any one of these influences or restraints. However, we might add that the failures to restrain the Court do far outweigh the successes. Does this imply we are a government by judiciary? I say not.