Judicial activism / by kevin murray

There are plenty of people that appreciate judicial activism, especially when that activism, benefits their cause, specifically.  The thing is though, the Constitution is a written document, and those that believe that such a Constitution is a living document, or an evolving document, are really in a fundamental sense, using that as the raisons d'être for their beliefs, making it seem as though what they are accomplishing or supporting through the overzealous judicial branch is appropriate, sound, and justified; when, in fact, it isn't any of these things.


The Constitution is the highest law of the land, and that Constitution is a written document, which specifically must be adhered to, of which, there are policies set forth for amendments to that Constitution, of which, to date, there have been a total of twenty-seven amendments that have been ratified to our Constitution.  When the Constitution is respected as the highest law, the people through their legislature representatives are still able to effect change through amendments to the Constitution.  However, judicial activism, at its worse, is actually a runaround that limitation, so that, new rights and new laws, or current rights and current laws, or the interpretation of rights and the interpretation of laws, can and have, suddenly been changed by that judicial branch.


This basically means that the legislative branch, as well as the executive branch, and by definition, the Constitution, itself, are all capable of being superseded by the Supreme Court of this land, when that court interprets such, in any manner that they so see fit to interpret it as.  This then becomes a land in which the unelected judges, that are appointed for life terms, effectively interpret and make laws that this esteem group so wishes to enact, negating the voice of the people, in the most undemocratic way that such can be done.


This does mean, that the popular vote on propositions by the people, and thereby enacted by the legislature of that people, are subject to being overturned, dismissed, and overruled by the judicial branch; even of laws that are long standing and historically sound.  Not only is this clearly an abuse and misuse of the Constitution, but clearly such decisions will favor one class of citizens over all other citizens, and specifically will favor the ideology of that court, so that, the supreme law of the land, is the prevailing ideology of that court, and not the Constitution.


The only possible workaround to judicial activism, is to purposely put judges back in their place, of which, the greatest exponent of such an ideal, was Abraham Lincoln.  That is to say, when President Lincoln took office, the law of the land was apparently the Dred Scott decision, that stipulated that blacks were not entitled to citizenship or constitutional protections, but of this decision, it was defied by Lincoln and the North.  So too, the Supreme Court ruled that the President had not the right to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, during the Civil War, but Lincoln did so suspend the writ of habeas corpus.


Lincoln, was a true Constitutionalist, for he stated on many an occasion, that though he detested slavery, that he did not believe that the Constitution gave him the right to overturn such in those States that permitted such.  In point of fact, slavery was not constitutionally overturned until the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, demonstrating that the Supreme Law of this Land, is quite capable of positive change; and judges that do not recognize this salient fact, need not have their judicial decisions, obeyed.