Sunday, June 19, 2005

What Exactly Is Judicial Activism?

What Exactly Is Judicial Activism? The Charges Made Against the President's Judicial Nominees
Friday, Jun. 17, 2005

"Judicial activism" has become an appellation of choice in the current debate about the role of judges and justices in American government. Most prominently, right now, it's used by Democrats to attack the President's judicial nominees, and by Republicans to attack judges who reach results of which they do not approve.

But exactly what does "judicial activism" mean? In this column, I'll explore that thorny question.

Two Recent Books on Judicial Activism Fail to Define "Judicial Activism" Precisely

Left-leaning trial attorney Martin Garbus's book Courting Disaster: The Supreme Court And The Unmaking Of American Law takes "judicial activism" as its main subject. Garbus believes that the High Court under Chief Justice John Marshall, the New Deal Court, the Warren Court, and now the Rehnquist Court, have "all had political agendas and practiced judicial activism." Yet Garbus does not define specifically what "judicial activism" means.....