Thursday, April 5, 2012

On 'judicial activism'

Every time I hear someone accuse the courts of "judicial activism" -- whether this fashionable epithet comes from the Left or the Right -- I can't help remembering what George Carlin said:
"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"
Here's one that Carlin surely would've appreciated: When I get a tax break, it's a deduction. When someone undeserving (according to me) gets a tax break, it's a damned loophole.

Likewise, the perception of judicial activism depends on where one stands. For hardcore partisans in search of ideological absolutes, the matter remains inescapably relative, even if they won't admit it.

Take, for example, Pres. Obama's shot across the Supreme Court's bow on Monday -- "that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law." He characterized the "Affordable Care Act" as "a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."

That first remark is a breathtaking example of executive arrogance. The second simply doesn't square with the facts.

Clearing away perceptions, exaggerations and outright lies, the only honest place to stand is on principle -- not on party principles, not on ideological principles, but on constitutional principles.

This independent citizen-patriot acknowledges his own subjective nature and yet refuses to bend to influence carried by the latest gust of wind. I stand on the Constitution of the United States.