Monday, June 02, 2008

Judicial Activism

In the comments on my previous post, I stated that my biggest problem with the left is how they have rejected and abandoned the Constitution in their appointment of activist judges. A reader challenged me, citing several examples of where he thought President Bush had acted in an unconstitutional fashion. There will always be disagreement on the handling of various issues in every administration. In addition, President Bush is not synonymous with conservatism. He is conservative on some things but is certainly not a conservative (although he's done a good job nominating Supreme Court justices, not counting Harriet Miers). My point is that the judges nominated by Democrats are almost always of the opinion that the Constitution is a “living and breathing” document and should change as the times change, while conservatives want judges that will stick to the Constitution when making their rulings and abstain from advancing any ideological agenda. This is anathema to the left, who want judges that will rule in a way that advances liberalism and big government.

In recent confirmation hearings, current Chief Justice John Roberts was asked by Chuck Schumer (D-NY) if he would “be for the little guy.” Roberts responded, “If the Constitution says that the little guy should win, the little guy’s going to win in court before me. But if the Constitution says that the big guy should win, well, then the big guy’s going to win.”

The left have rejected the view held by Justices Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito that a Supreme Court Justice’s responsibility is to uphold the literal meaning of the Constitution and the original intent of the Founding Fathers. Instead, liberal justices make it say whatever they want it to say and call those practicing judicial restraint “extreme.” If liberal justices don’t like legislation passed by elected members of our government, they will vote to overturn it, regardless of what the Constitution has to say on the issue. The most appalling example being Roe v. Wade, in which laws against abortion were ruled unconstitutional, although you’d be hard pressed to show me which section of the Constitution gives women the right to kill a baby just as long as its head is still inside the womb.

Liberal justices will go to great lengths to justify their rulings. Take the Weber case, for example. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for employers "to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race." Brian F. Weber (white male) sued his employer after he was denied admission to a training program although blacks with less seniority were admitted. Justice William Brennan, writing for the majority, felt that the “spirit” of the Act should be followed, not the literal meaning. The Supreme Court ruled against Weber, citing the "primary concern" of the Civil Rights Act for "the plight of the Negro in our economy." Justice William Rehnquist, writing the dissenting opinion, compared this explanation to the escapes of Houdini.

This is called judicial activism. Fidelity to one’s role is a value lost on the left. In their wisdom, the founders knew our republic would need checks and balances. Activist judges are not just acting as legislators and rejecting the role assigned to them in the Constitution, they are acting as tyrants. There are no checks and balances for an activist court. As Mark Levin says in his excellent book on this very subject, Men In Black, “As few as five justices can and do dictate economic, cultural, criminal, and security policy for the entire nation.”


Dirk VanStralen said...

Right on, Jon. and didn't the California Supreme Court just overrule the will of the people by allowing same sex marriage and aren't the people going to get to vote on it in November? again!

Jon Vander Plas said...

Exactly. Neither the state constitution nor the US Constitution guarantees the right to a homosexual marriage. If the people of California want gay marriage they should pass legislation to allow it. Instead, the tyrannical court imposed its will on California by legislating from the bench.