Friday, April 15, 2005

The inkblot of judicial activism

Over at Objective Justice, Sean Sirrine posts an excerpt from a judicial opinion that explains why the term "judicial activist" is utterly meaningless:
At the oral argument on this case, appellant referred, at times, to not wanting 'liberal' or 'activist' judges to overstep the will of the Minnesota legislature. Simply put, the term 'liberal/activist judge' is, in reality, a 'non-term.' Both parties to this debate recognize the truth. What one calls 'a well-reasoned conservative judicial opinion by a son or daughter of the founding fathers' means only that the judge ruled in your favor. When the judge rules against you and in favor of your opponent, on the identical facts and argument, you will now turn to the banal cliché that the judge 'is too activist' for me. The term is meaningless, self-defeating, and, worse, it actually weakens appellant's position.

On a related note, there has been nothing more absurd than House Majority Leader Tom DeLay calling the courts "activist" after they refused to order the reinsertion of the tube in Terri Schiavo's case. Not only was this term patently a political rallying cry to stack the courts with Christian conservatives, but also if he had it his way, then the legislation enacted giving the federal courts jurisdiction over the Schiavo case would really have been unconstitutional because Congress would have been telling the courts how to decide a case in violation of the principle of judicial independence.


Blogger Ha ha hit him again said...

yea 9th amendment

4/16/2005 11:22:00 PM  

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