Judicial Activism?

I’m not a scholar of law, and I don’t even play one, but watching a preliminary skirmish between Senators Hatch and Leahy concerning the next Supreme Court nominee drew me into the legal fray, especially when they both started talking about “judicial activism.”

As far as I can tell, the phrase is another one of those empty signifiers, waiting to be filled by whomever happens to be next in line. I’m sure one can find as many people who think Roe v. Wade or Bush v. Gore represented judicial activism as those who think they represented prudent application of the Constitution.

In any event, Kermit Roosevelt III seems to have written a book on the subject that’s worth a look:

The Myth of Judicial Activism

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One Response to “Judicial Activism?”

  1. Wild Bill Says:

    The locus classicus on judicial activism probably is Brad Canon’s “Defining the Dimensions of Judicial Activism,” in Judicature Vol. 66, no. 6 (1983). Professor Canon defines six dimensions of variation in denotations/connotations of the highly equivocal phrase.

    I also recommend Tom Keck’s THE MOST ACTIVIST SUPREME COURT IN HISTORY (2004), wherein Professor Keck discussed the Rehnquist Court.


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