Judicial Activism


Now that the Supreme Court has decided the Obamacare and gay marriage cases, Republicans will be complaining about activist judges and the far right will be screaming for impeachments.

This Court has indeed been an activist one. It threw out 200 years of legal precedent in interpreting the second amendment as granting near-absolute rights for gun usage. The amendment reads: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. By making the right to bear arms virtually absolute, the Court effectively erased the first part of the sentence from the Constitution. Now, that's activism.

More alarming is the Court's interpretation of corporate personhood. The concept was invented to shelter stockholders from responsibility for corporate debt. It was a legal fiction; there was no thought that corporations were really like people. But in the case of Citizens United, the Court invented out of whole cloth the idea that corporations have the right to participate in, and finance, political campaigns; and in the Hobby Lobby case the Court asserted that certain corporations are entitled to religious liberty, a precious right that ought not to be so sullied.

The idea that faceless corporations possess civil rights is extraordinary. Proposing that corporate money is speech is incredible. In these decisions, the Court has gone far, far beyond mere activism.