Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Once again, let's review "judicial activism."

Ted Cruz is a moron. He released a press statement this week regarding the US Supreme Court's determination that it would not hear any of the cases involving gay marriage and in that press release, he called the Court's determination "judicial activism at its worst."

Please. Please stop. You're making my head hurt. 

Judicial activism actually means something. It has a real, legitimate, actual meaning. And that meaning isn't "I don't agree with them." 

In order for a court to be considered "activist," the court must do something. It must act. Weird, huh? It must make a decision on a case. 

The Supreme Court did exactly the opposite of that. It did nothing. Nothing at all. Not one damn thing. Therefore, it cannot be considered "judicial activism" because the Court won't hear the gay marriage cases. 

Here's how judicial activism looks in real life: 
A concrete example is Brown v. Board of Education. The states had passed laws to enforce segregation in schools (and elsewhere, of course). The United States Supreme Court reviewed those laws and said, "No, sorry, you can't do that" and struck those laws down. Because the Court did something, it can be called an example of judicial activism. 

If a Court of Appeals decides something and the US Supreme Court overturns that decision, that's an example of judicial activism. Because the Court did something. Specifically, it overturned a previous decision. 

See how judicial activism works? If the Court does something, it is being active. 

In contrast, judicial passivism/judicial restraint is when the Court does nothing or when it lets a lower court ruling stand or when it upholds a law.  For example, when the Supreme Court determined that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional, that was an example of judicial passivism/restraint--it did not do anything; it simply let the law stand.  Similarly, when it refuses to hear the gay marriage cases, it's being passive. Because it's doing nothing, it's deciding nothing, it's reviewing nothing. Get it, Ted Cruz? 

Want more examples/discussion on this? I already reviewed this topic in June of 2013

Seriously, it's one of my biggest pet peeves in life when people throw around the term "judicial activism" any time they disagree with the court's decision. THAT'S NOT WHAT IT MEANS! Stop it. Thank you. 

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