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Judicial Activism

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NEWS
July 3, 2014
The strict constructionists on the Supreme Court had no difficulty with infusing personhood upon corporations ( "Corporations trump people in Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision," June 30. Corporations are legal fictions created in the 19th century to promote economic growth by facilitating the ability to raise investment capital. They were never intended to have the entire range of rights and privileges as actual persons. Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were persons in the context of political contributions.
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NEWS
July 3, 2014
The strict constructionists on the Supreme Court had no difficulty with infusing personhood upon corporations ( "Corporations trump people in Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision," June 30. Corporations are legal fictions created in the 19th century to promote economic growth by facilitating the ability to raise investment capital. They were never intended to have the entire range of rights and privileges as actual persons. Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were persons in the context of political contributions.
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NEWS
By Michael Kinsley | November 14, 2004
WHAT DOES President Bush mean, if anything, when he says that his kind of judge "knows the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law"? Taken literally, this simply means he wants judges who agree with him. Every judge sincerely believes that he or she is interpreting the law properly. But Mr. Bush's complaint must be understood in the context of Republican Party history over the past half-century. Ever since Brown vs. Board of Education (the 1954 school desegregation case)
NEWS
June 25, 2013
In theory, the Supreme Court's evisceration of the Voting Rights Act sounds perfectly reasonable, even restrained. The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, does not eliminate the possibility that the government could require some jurisdictions to get pre-clearance from the federal government for changes to their voting systems to make sure they are not discriminatory against minorities. Rather, it merely holds that the criteria for determining which jurisdictions are covered, established in 1965, are no longer valid in a very changed world, and if Congress wants to continue the pre-clearance process, it needs to update its formula for inclusion.
NEWS
By Michael Kinsley | June 26, 2005
THE "TAKINGS" clause of the Fifth Amendment is for conservatives what the "equal protection" clause of the 14th is for liberals. It wouldn't be fair to say that conservatives cherish property the way liberals cherish equality. But it would be fair to say that the "takings" clause is the conservative recipe for judicial activism - imposing their agenda through the courts, rather than bothering with democracy - the way they say liberals have misused the equal protection clause. Of course, conservatives always claim to be against judicial activism.
NEWS
By E. Thomas Sullivan | September 6, 2005
IT HAS BEEN 11 years since the newest member of the Suprme Court, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, was confirmed (in 10 days) to replace Justice Harry A. Blackmun. What can we expect as the leading theme for the hearings on the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as the new chief justice? It can be summed up in two words: "judicial activism." So what is judicial activism and why is it so important? It is judicial decision-making largely driven by ideology or some form of political theory or philosophy, whether on the left or the right.
NEWS
By Erwin Chemerinsky | June 30, 2008
The Supreme Court's invalidation of the District of Columbia's handgun ban powerfully shows that the conservative rhetoric about judicial restraint is a lie. In striking down the law, Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion, joined by the court's four other most conservative justices, is quite activist in pursuing the conservative political agenda of protecting gun owners. If the terms "judicial activism" and "judicial restraint" have any meaning, it is that a court is activist when it is invalidating laws and overruling precedent, and restrained when deferring to popularly elected legislatures and following prior decisions.
NEWS
By Thomas Healy and Thomas Healy,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | May 20, 2001
WASHINGTON - During last year's presidential campaign and in the months leading up to his first wave of judicial nominations, President Bush gave notice that he would not appoint "activist judges" to the federal courts who would "use their bench to subvert the legislature." A generation ago, the president's meaning would have been clear. During the 1960s and 1970s, activist judges were liberals who used their power to expand individual rights of self-expression, due process and privacy.
NEWS
By Gwyneth K. Shaw and Gwyneth K. Shaw,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | August 3, 2005
WASHINGTON - Amid dozens of pages of biographical information, financial details and legal accomplishments, Judge John G. Roberts Jr. offered a brief glimpse of his judicial philosophy to the Senate committee that will consider whether to elevate him to the U.S. Supreme Court. In his responses to a questionnaire from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Roberts stressed the importance of applying precedent in making decisions. That comment could help gauge his views on cases, including challenges to Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion decision.
NEWS
April 4, 2012
Apparently President Barack Obama is now telling the justices of the Supreme Court how they can vote. He made a statement at a White House meeting on Monday, with the Canadian prime minister and the Mexican president, that they need to find Obamacare constitutional just because it is. And if they should dare to strike it down, it would amount to "judicial activism. " When in the history of the United States has the president had the audacity to tell the Supreme Court how they are to vote on any matter brought before them?
EXPLORE
July 20, 2012
This is in response to the July 5 article by Lindsey McPherson, in which local officials and a resident applauded the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. While the case cited needs to be addressed by changes in health care, the best system in the world should not be radically changed to do so, especially when it will be financed through a mandatory tax on healthy young adults and all...
NEWS
April 4, 2012
In his recent column ("Razing the JFX, lowering O's expectations," April 3), Dan Rodricks continues his attacks on the Supreme Court for asking the tough questions of the lawyers presenting the Obama administration's case for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Mr. Rodricks refers to the observation of The Sun's Eileen Ambrose 's that two years after the law's passage, most Americans don't know what it does. Mr. Rodricks fails to mention that the Democratic Congress failed to know this also but voted for it anyway.
NEWS
April 4, 2012
Apparently President Barack Obama is now telling the justices of the Supreme Court how they can vote. He made a statement at a White House meeting on Monday, with the Canadian prime minister and the Mexican president, that they need to find Obamacare constitutional just because it is. And if they should dare to strike it down, it would amount to "judicial activism. " When in the history of the United States has the president had the audacity to tell the Supreme Court how they are to vote on any matter brought before them?
NEWS
May 10, 2010
President Barack Obama this morning nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court a woman who is well known in Washington and in legal circles from her years serving in key public posts in two presidential administrations, and as dean of one of the nation's most prominent law schools. We know that she is well liked and has been able in academic and political contexts to forge consensus across ideological lines. But as for the issues that suck up the attention in Supreme Court nominations — abortion, affirmative action, the separation of church and state, etc. — we know next to nothing about where she stands.
NEWS
By Erwin Chemerinsky | June 30, 2008
The Supreme Court's invalidation of the District of Columbia's handgun ban powerfully shows that the conservative rhetoric about judicial restraint is a lie. In striking down the law, Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion, joined by the court's four other most conservative justices, is quite activist in pursuing the conservative political agenda of protecting gun owners. If the terms "judicial activism" and "judicial restraint" have any meaning, it is that a court is activist when it is invalidating laws and overruling precedent, and restrained when deferring to popularly elected legislatures and following prior decisions.
NEWS
By Steve Chapman | December 20, 2006
CHICAGO -- You have to feel for Mitt Romney. The Massachusetts governor, who labored for years to convince voters in his state that he would not infringe on abortion rights, is now striving mightily to persuade voters elsewhere that he would do exactly that. He becomes the latest of many politicians who, in the course of their quest for the White House, have felt an irresistible impulse to re-evaluate this issue. And if that makes you skeptical about the sincerity of presidential candidates, well, shame on you. When Mr. Romney, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate against Edward M. Kennedy in 1994, he said, "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal" and professed his support for the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
NEWS
By GREGORY KANE | March 9, 2003
THE YEAR 2003 marks the 200th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Marbury vs. Madison. So let's whoop it up and celebrate. What's that? What's Marbury vs. Madison, and why should we care? If Samuel L. Banks, my City College history teacher, were around, he'd simply give us all a look of equal parts bewilderment and amusement, and gently chide, "But you should know this." Some 27 years ago, we celebrated the Bicentennial, whooping up the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
NEWS
April 4, 2012
In his recent column ("Razing the JFX, lowering O's expectations," April 3), Dan Rodricks continues his attacks on the Supreme Court for asking the tough questions of the lawyers presenting the Obama administration's case for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Mr. Rodricks refers to the observation of The Sun's Eileen Ambrose 's that two years after the law's passage, most Americans don't know what it does. Mr. Rodricks fails to mention that the Democratic Congress failed to know this also but voted for it anyway.
NEWS
By E. Thomas Sullivan | September 6, 2005
IT HAS BEEN 11 years since the newest member of the Suprme Court, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, was confirmed (in 10 days) to replace Justice Harry A. Blackmun. What can we expect as the leading theme for the hearings on the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as the new chief justice? It can be summed up in two words: "judicial activism." So what is judicial activism and why is it so important? It is judicial decision-making largely driven by ideology or some form of political theory or philosophy, whether on the left or the right.
NEWS
By Gwyneth K. Shaw and Gwyneth K. Shaw,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | August 3, 2005
WASHINGTON - Amid dozens of pages of biographical information, financial details and legal accomplishments, Judge John G. Roberts Jr. offered a brief glimpse of his judicial philosophy to the Senate committee that will consider whether to elevate him to the U.S. Supreme Court. In his responses to a questionnaire from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Roberts stressed the importance of applying precedent in making decisions. That comment could help gauge his views on cases, including challenges to Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion decision.
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