Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Judicial Activism and Political Correctness

activism     Cartoon via the Ryskind Sketchbook

Two things you don’t really need in a Supreme Court Justice:  judicial activism and political correctness. We’re getting both. Judicial activism in the nominee, and political correctness in the body tasked with vetting Elena Kagan’s suitability for the job.

There is excellent commentary at the Bookworm on the Kagan hearings. She explores American Prospect’s take on how political correctness thwarts intellectual debate (duh) and provides Teflon coating for Kagan and her ilk. But more interesting is her discussion of the difference between liberal and conservative definitions of judicial “activism:”

To the conservative mind, the anti-Constitutional bent of decisions made by liberal, or activist, judges, means that, to the extent a prior judicial decision violates Constitutional restrictions, that decision is invalid, and should be overruled.  In other words, merely because a case exists, it is not automatically valid precedent.  If the case was void ab initio, overruling the decision isn’t activism; it is, instead, a corrective act to reinstate Constitutional limitations on government.

To the Left, however, “activism” means any decision that overturns liberal precedent — even if that precedent is, in and of itself, unconstitutional.  It’s therefore no wonder the Left is dismayed by the fact that the Roberts court is tidying up the record and reversing preexisting cases enacted by activist judges.

Bookworm Room: always worthy reading.


Sotomayor hearing: remove “ethnic” and it likewise illustrates the current Kagen hearingsotomayor-100also via Ryskind sketchbook