Generally, this power of judicial review is meant for the Courts to oversee the legislative or executive functions. However, the Court is able to exercise the power to uphold or deny the congressional and executive actions in passing upon the issue of constitutionality. Thus, judicial review can, in effect, nullify the acts of the other branches of the government.
This should not be taken that the Supreme Court overpowers the other two branches. Instead, this authority must be understood in the light of the need to uphold the Constitution at all times. After all, in a country where rule of law is observed, the Constitution must be upheld without exception. To state otherwise will only result to the negation of the interests of the people.
The power of the Supreme Court to make pronouncements as regards existing laws is not an absolute power. It is a rule that the power to exercise judicial review must be exercised only when there is an actual case or an actual controversy. Thus, to properly request the courts to examine the constitutionality of law, there must be at least one party who stands to benefit or to be injured by the questioned provisions of the law and who shall ask a pronouncement from the Court. This can be properly illustrated in the case of Marbury v. Madison.
The case of Marbury v. Madison is considered a very important landmark case in the history of the Unite States Supreme Court. This is the first instance that the U.S. Supreme Court was able to declare and exercise its power of judicial review.
What happened in the case of Marbury v. Madison? It was in the year 1800. William Marbury had been nominated, appointed as a justice of peace and given a commission. John Adams, the president of the United States back then, already signed the commission. The United States seals had been affixed to it also.