Friday, June 27, 2008

Judicial Activism is the Conservative Way, Well-Regulated Militias to the Contrary

Yesterday I pointed out that the SCOTUS decision in the Exxon Valdez disaster case is obvious judicial activism, with the Justices determining tort policy and micromanaging a jury decision of a corporate political campaign contributor without showing any jury irrationality.

Today, I give you the SCOTUS decision on the DC handgun law, and E.J. Dionne's response:
The court's five most conservative members have demonstrated that for all of Justice Antonin Scalia's talk about "originalism" as a coherent constitutional doctrine, those on the judicial right regularly succumb to the temptation to legislate from the bench. They fall in line behind whatever fashions political conservatism is promoting.

Conservative justices claim that they defer to local authority. Not in this case. They insist that political questions should be decided by elected officials. Not in this case. They argue that they pay careful attention to the precise words of the Constitution. Not in this case ....

[I]t was the court's four more liberal justices who favored judicial modesty, deference to democratic decisions, empowerment of local officials and care in examining the Constitution's actual text and the history behind it. Indeed, the same conservative majority ran roughshod over the work of an elected branch of government in its ruling yesterday on campaign finance law.
I've always believed that "tort reform" was nothing but a cynical punch line that conservatives used with mock seriousness to consolidate power. The recent SCOTUS decisions on the part of Justices who are supposed to be impartial confirm my belief. It's not tort reform that matters to conservatives as much as it is using the idea of tort reform to gain control and then legislate a conservative agenda from the bench.

1 comment:

  1. E.J. Dionne is an idiot, and I can prove it. He wrote, referring to conservatives and the Heller case, "They argue that they pay careful attention to the precise words of the Constitution. Not in this case..."

    Well, let us suppose that the 2nd Amendment were not about firearms, but about something different, yet had the same structure: "A well-educated electorate being necessary to the success of a democratic state, the right of the people to read and write books shall not be infringed." Would you suppose that only registered voters had the right to read and write books? Would you suppose that the right to read and write books belonged not to individual persons, but was instead merely a "collective right" of the state? Only an idiot would think such things. Thus, the four justices on the losing side of this decision, and everyone who agrees with them, is an idiot, including Mr. Dionne.