The Supreme Court of United States of America played a vital role in the evolution and development of the American political system. It has played a double role. In the first place. It has acted and the guardian of the constitution and fundamental rights. In the second place, it permitted the constitution to develop with the march of time.
Guardians or Custodian of the Constitution and Fundamental Rights
America is a federation. This means that the Constitution distributes the powers between the Centre and the units and is the supreme law of the land. The Supreme Court acts as the guardian and custodian of the Constitution. If Congress or the States legislature pass a law which is in conflict with any provision of the Constitution, the Supreme Court is empowered to declare it ultra vires or unconstitutional. Thus it has the power to keep the Congress and the states legislatures within their respective spheres. The power of declaring the Federal and the State laws to be unconstitutional if they violate the provisions of the Constitution is technically known as Judicial Review. It may be mentioned here that the Supreme Court cannot pronounce upon the constitutionality or otherwise or legislative measures on its own initiative, but only when the matter referred to it by an aggrieved party. In England there is no system of Judicial Review. It is the Parliament, which is supreme. However; in USA, it is the Supreme Court, which is supreme. The Constitution has given limited powers to Congress and to state legislatures. If they overstep their limits, the Supreme Court can declare their laws null and void. In this way the Supreme Court has prevented the Centre and the states from interfering in each other’s affairs. It has also prevented both the national and the state governments from depriving the American citizens of their rights. In short the US. Supreme Court has guarded the Constitution well.
Development of the Constitution
The Supreme Court has not only kept the federal structure in fact, but it has also developed the Constitution according to the changing circumstances. We know that the US Constitution Was framed in 1787 and it is also clear that the process of amending the constitution is very difficult. Because of the difficult procedure of amending the US Constitution, only 27 amendments have so far been made. Had the Supreme Court not played her useful role in developing the Constitution, the constitution would not have been able to keep pace with the growing socio-economic and political needs of the American citizens. It had increased the powers of the Centre by means of the doctrine of Implied Powers (those powers which are neither expressly granted nor prohibited to it) Had the Supreme Court not put a broad and liberal interpretation upon the original Constitution, many of the powers, which now belong to Centre and must belong to Centre, would have gone to the states. The original constitutions was made for a small population of agriculture pursuits. Now America is one the leading powers of the world. Its population has increased enormously. The life of the people have become very complex. America is today a highly industrialized country. It is the Supreme Court, which has provided flexibility to the Constitution and has enabled to adopt itself to the changing circumstances of the country.