Feingold: Let’s Dump the Phrase ‘Judicial Activism’
Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) just wisely suggested that the phrase “judicial activism” be dropped from the lexicon of judicial nomination hearings, where it’s so frequently batted around to attack one side or another.
“I suggest we be wary of the phrase ‘judicial activism,’” he said. “So many of the rulings of the current conservative majority on the Supreme Court can be described as activist.” Meanwhile, some of our greatest Supreme Court decisions, including those that ended racial discrimination in education and guaranteed the right to vote, were surely considered “activist” at the time, yet are now considered some of our most important cases in the history of the court.
Today, it seems, “the best definition of a judicial activist is when a judge decides a case in a way you don’t like.”
Perhaps, noted Feingold, it’s time to retire that attack phrase and concentrate on a candidate’s judicial philosophy and record.