Friday, December 03, 2004

Judicial Activism

I think it's pretty well established that the terms "judicial activism" is simply a right-wing buzz word for, "Judges ruling in ways that I don't like." The claim is that judges overstep their bounds and get involved in cases they don't have jurisdiction over in order to overturn the so-called "will of the people," which is suddenly all-important to conservatives when the law and the Constitution don't support their case (when they do, then the "will of the people" can blow and they make the legal and constitutional case).

For instance, in 2000, the Supreme Court suddenly reversed its policy on States' Rights to overturn Florida law and the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court in order to elect George W. Bush President by fiat. Conservatives rightfully screamed about "judicial activism."

Oh, that's right, they didn't. So, I have a special left-wing code word for those conservatives who said nothing in 2000 but have been bitching up a storm about "judicial activism" since then: hypocrite. And you don't even need to know special code to understand my term. I just used the dictionary meaning.

As such, I am unsurprised that those same conservatives, such advocates of States' Rights when the States want to ban sodomy, abortion, gay marriage, or the right of black people to vote, are up in arms that the Supreme Court chose not to hear the case against the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts! In fact, they have the nerve to call that "judicial activism" too, even though this was clearly a State matter, as it involved only State law and the State constitution. Check out this nutjob from Mullenax News.

Now the Supreme Court is "activist" because it won't hear a case and overturn a ruling clearly outside its jurisdiction. Isn't the root word of "activist" somehow related to "activity?" Don't you have to do something to be an "activist" rather than not do something? Can I claim I am a voters' rights "activist" by just staying home and not voting? Can I say I am an equal rights "activist" because I sit in my living room and wish blacks had equal rights? Hell, by that definition, I'm an "activist" on all kinds of issues! I should get myself some guest spots on MSNBC since I'm apparently such an "activist."

It's amazing. The only consistent thing about conservatives who used the term "judicial activism" was that they applied it only to when the courts did things they didn't like, such as taking certain cases and making certain rulings. Now, apart from the hypocrisy in its application noted above, conservatives have further made the term meaningless by applying it to the Court choosing not to take a case. If there is any better proof that you should punch any conservative who uses the term "judicial activism" in the mouth to shut him or her up, I don't know what it would be.

BTW, don't punch conservatives in the mouth.* Or at least don't mention me or this blog if you do.

*with the exception of Ann Coulter


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