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2007 | 10 | 60-77

Article title

Politics and the constitution. A reflection on the right to privacy in the context of the judgments of the US Supreme Court


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The political system of a democratic and liberal state lacks a space free of the necessity to confirm the rational character of authoritative decisions. The most important forum for such a validation is the hearings chamber of the constitutional tribunal. In the United States, the court empowered to make the final appraisal of the constitutionality of decisions made by the state authority, including their rational character, is the Federal Supreme Court, a nine-person collegiate body appointed by the president upon the advice and consent of the Senate, where decisions are made by a majority vote. This is the power referred to as judicial review. When appraising the reasonable character of authoritative decisions made by the legislative and the executive branch, the judicial branch is to be unencumbered by political pressure. In fact, being able to make law, it not only validates, vis-a-vis the constitution, the legality of actions on the part of the other two branches, but also participates in a effective way in the setting out of the conditions of their actions. The judicial branch is thus not only a political arbiter but also creates politics. Freed from political pressure, it is able, at the same time, to exert it. Validating the rational character of the actions of other parties, it faces the need to defend the rationality of its own decisions, bearing in mind that it also sets out the standards. Action on the part of the judicial branch is not limited to the settling of specific disputes based on the existing law. It also sets out the way of settling such disputes in the future. The court does make decisions on the cases of private individuals; however, in the final instance, it is as an arbiter deciding on problems of public policy, which makes it a participant in political disputes.


  • R. Prostak, Katedra Stosunków Miedzynarodowych Wyzszej Szkoly Europejskiej w Krakowie, ul. Westerplatte 11, 31-033 Kraków, Poland


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Publication order reference


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