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Plato's View on the US Supreme Court

This paper seeks to identify the views Plato would have towards the U.S Supreme Court. Plato was a philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates and a teacher to Aristotle. He was a writer of philosophies and founder of the first institute of higher learning ‘ACADEMY’ in Athens. Plato was born in Athens in 428 B.C and is known as the father of plutonic realism.

The Supreme Court of the US is one of the three branches of the federal government; it is the most high of courts in the United States of America. It has ultimate and discretional appellate jurisdiction over all federal courts and over state court cases involving issues of federal law, specifying itself as the supreme expositor of the Constitution and original (Landry, 2007) jurisdiction over a small range of cases. The Court, which meets in the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., consists of a Chief Justice and eight associate justices who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Once appointed, justices have life tenure unless they resign, retire, or are removed after impeachment.

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Although Plato took a dim view on democracy, when it comes to the leadership of man, Plato's view of society is pinned by the belief that philosophers and other the educated ‘elite’ are capable of knowing the absolute truth. About how to rule the society and hence are justified in wielding absolute power. Such a view is in striking contrast to that of, Socrates, his principal teacher who was always conscious of how much he did and did not know, and claimed superiority to unthinking men only in that he was aware of his own ignorance where they were not.

In support of this Plato states that one should stand under leadership in even the smallest manner. For example, one should not get up, move, wash, or take his meals without been told to do so. One should teach his soul, by long habit, and never dream of acting independently as there is no end to the troubles of states, or humanity until philosophers become kings in this world, or the presiding kings and rulers truly become philosophers, hence putting political power and philosophy into those same hands.(Plató, 1955)

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Despite the United States of America being a democratic country, the United States Supreme Court is in many ways within Plato’s plutonic views such as when he states that a democratic system turns people to govern on the basis of what the majority of the voters say. The majority, when compared to the number of total citizens, it is likely that they are a minority of people who have no plans, other than the necessity to get themselves elected (Landry, 2007).

Plato would be in favor of the United States Supreme court since its structure supports his plutonic views stated above. The chief justice and the eight associate justices nominated by the president blocking the public from the process.

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The united States Supreme Court powers can go as far as affecting the decision of who becomes the president of the United States. For example, during the year 2000 United States presidential elections, the United States Supreme Court gave a ruling that settled the Bush vs. Gore dispute making Bush the president of the United States. This move was criticized by masses but supported by ‘political elites’ who insisted that the decision be respected. This action falls in place with Plato’s view on leadership.(Ackerman, 2002).

In 1802 during the Marbury V. Madison, a court case that was deemed as the most important of all cases, led to the Supreme Court being awarded very important powers. The case was a result of several of the commissions of office for the new justices of the peace for the District of Columbia not being delivered to the rightful appointees. In this, William Marbury and three others sued the secretary of state James Madison. This case scenario left the Marshal court with no choice but to give the court the power of judicial review over federal laws. This meant that the Supreme Court had attained the power to declare acts of congress or executive unconstitutional.(Langran, 2004).

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During this time, the Supreme Court of the United States made a ruling that while Congress may not limit the case which the Supreme Court may hear, it may limit the jurisdiction where lower federal courts are concerned to bar them from hearing cases on certain subjects.(United States. Supreme Court, 1856).

The structure and power of the United States Supreme Court, as displayed by all of the above examples fall in line with Plato’s thoughts and beliefs about leadership and how it should be carried out as.

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