Emily Vincent

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Political Science


The United States Supreme Court stands today as an arbitrator of political disputes and modern liberties, a “storm center” of moral and political controversy. The modern Supreme Court’s decisions regarding contraception, marriage, and abortion incite debate concerning the judiciary’s appropriate role in the United States’ democratic structure. Even after more than two hundred years since its establishment, the role of the Court remains unclear. Those who oppose the Court’s current practice argue that it has encroached upon the realm of the legislature and has ventured far from the Constitution’s intended meaning. Proponents, however, declare that certain rights, such as the right to privacy, are embedded within provisions of the Constitution itself; therefore, it is the responsibility of the Court to rule upon.

With this thesis, I attempt to answer the normative questions surrounding this debate: what is the proper role of the Supreme Court; furthermore, if it is not the role of the Supreme Court to answer such substantive questions, then to whom should this responsibility be deferred?