System of Government
What Does the Judicial Branch Do

What does the judicial branch do?

The judicial branch of the United States government is responsible for interpreting and applying the law. Its primary function is to administer justice, resolve legal disputes, and ensure the proper interpretation and application of laws in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. The main tasks and responsibilities of the judicial branch include:

  • Interpreting Laws: The judicial branch, particularly the Supreme Court, interprets the meaning and constitutionality of laws. This includes determining whether a law aligns with the provisions and principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
  • Adjudicating Disputes: Courts at various levels within the judicial branch hear cases and resolve legal disputes. They apply the relevant laws and legal precedents to determine the outcome of cases, whether they involve civil, criminal, or constitutional matters.
  • Protecting Individual Rights: The judicial branch safeguards individual rights and liberties by enforcing constitutional protections. This includes the interpretation and application of the Bill of Rights, which outlines essential rights such as freedom of speech, religion, and the right to a fair trial.
  • Reviewing Laws and Actions: The judicial branch has the power of judicial review, which allows it to review the constitutionality of laws and actions taken by the legislative and executive branches. This power ensures that the other branches of government operate within the confines of the Constitution.
  • Setting Legal Precedents: Judicial decisions, particularly those made by the Supreme Court, establish legal precedents that guide future court decisions. These precedents contribute to the development of American jurisprudence and shape the interpretation and application of laws over time.

The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court in the federal judiciary and holds the final authority on matters of federal law and constitutional interpretation. Lower federal courts, including district courts and appellate courts, also play crucial roles in the judicial branch by hearing and deciding cases within their jurisdictions.