Judicial Activism = Absence Of Conservative Judicial Activism

August 3rd, 2009at 07:36pm Posted by Eli

That’s really the only consistent definition that I can see in the Republicans’ usage of the term.  John McCain is the latest offender:

One day after he warned that Republicans have a “very, very deep hole that we’ve got to come out of” with Latino voters, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) announced that he would oppose the first Latina nominated to the nation’s highest court. Moreover, in his statement opposing Judge Sonia Sotomayor, McCain misrepresents his own record on judges:

Again and again, Judge Sotomayor seeks to amend the law to fit the circumstances of the case, thereby substituting herself in the role of a legislator. … To protect the equal, but separate roles of all three branches of government, I cannot support activist judges that seek to legislate from the bench. I have not supported such nominees in the past, and I cannot support such a nominee to the highest court in the land.

Despite his claim that he has never supported a judge who “seeks to amend the law to fit the circumstances of the case,” McCain voted in favor of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito; and he described both Roberts and Alito as “model judges” during the 2008 campaign….

[Insert Roberts, Alito, and Thomas’ greatest hits here]

As a Yale Law School study published before Roberts and Alito joined the Supreme Court determined, Justice Thomas is the one justice who is most likely to vote to invalidate an Act of Congress — doing so a massive 65.63% of the time. The Court’s two Clinton appointees, Justices Ginsburg and Breyer, are the least likely to second-guess Congress.  So McCain has no problem with judges who “substitute [them]self in the role of a legislator;” he’s just upset that Sotomayor won’t push the same right-wing agenda as his favorite justices.

“Judicial activism” is transparently dishonest garbage, but I predict that Republicans will continue using it as an excuse to vote against moderate and progressive judges until roughly the end of time.

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Judiciary,McCain,Politics,Republicans,Wankers


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