One of the tricks that is used to confuse the public is to redefine words so they no longer have their original meaning. That is what is being done with the phrase “judicial activism”. Conservatives have been complaining about judicial activism for many years. What they have meant by that phrase is that judges are ignoring the plain meaning of the law and are instead twisting the law to get the outcome they want. One of the most outrageous examples of judicial activism is the Roe v. Wade decision, in which the US Supreme Court found a right to abortion in the “emanations” and “penumbras” of the Constitution. In other words, there is no such right in the plain language of the Constitution, so the justices created one out of thin air.
Now, leftists are trying to change the meaning of the phrase “judicial activism” to mean any time the court strikes down a law, calling it unconstitutional. That is an entirely different meaning from the original. In fact, there are many situations in which laws passed by legislatures clearly violate the Constitution, in which case, the justices are doing their job properly when they strike those laws down. That is not judicial activism in its original sense.
However, by calling it judicial activism, the left tries to create an equivalence between judges striking down a law because it violates the plain meaning of the Constitution and judges striking down a law based on new rights the justices have created that are not found in the Constitution. Then they can say they agree with the conservatives that judicial activism is a bad thing. And they can attack the court for doing a bad thing.
But their kind of judicial activism is not a bad thing. In fact, it is exactly what the court is supposed to do — strike down laws that violate the plain meaning of the Constitution.
So don’t allow yourself to be deceived by this redefining of terms. The real issue is whether the judges are interpreting laws in light of the plain meaning of the law as written or whether they are making up the law as they go along. If they are making it up as they go along, they are overstepping their proper bounds, and that is a bad thing that puts us all at risk.
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