Tag Archives: MacIver Institute

The Honorable Judge Activist

The Honorable Judge Activist

Not to sound like the beginning gag of a standup comedian or anything, but have you ever noticed that when conservatives drop the term “activist judge” it’s always in reference to a ruling they don’t like?  “Legislating from the bench” is another term of art they’re quick at the tongue to traduce, meaning a member of the judiciary creating laws rather than interpreting them.  You know, egregious overreaches by the courts such as Brown v. Board of Education or Loving v. Virginia.  But such selective slander seldom if ever seems to apply when a conservative judge or court calls the shots.  Who labeled Chief Justices Rehnquist or libeled Roberts as “activist” in Bush v. Gore or Citizens United, respectively?  Both were arguable breaches of judicial probity.  It seems only a conservative can accuse another — anyone — as activist, irrespective of supporting fact or substantive grounds.  For just as when Republicans ballyhoo a hue and cry about invasive government only when it comes to business regulations or environmental protections — and never about whom you are sleeping with, or how — their bete noir becomes their best friend when a conservative agenda is gaveled, no matter how abusive of power.  It’s heads I win, tails you lose. Read the rest of this entry »


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Welcome to Walkersha — Population: 7582

As best as I can recollect, this country founded itself on three essential matters: no taxation without representation (which credo is abrogated daily for the half-million residents of Washington, D.C., said country’s very capital, but that’s another story); self-rule by way of representational government (democracy, not monarchy); and freedom of (or from) religion.  The only thing that truly keeps us as a nation bound together is a piece of parchment that begins “We the People.”  Our common denominator is neither racial nor religious, unlike so many cultures of the world.  Even what literally grounds us could hardly be more incongruous; from the Olympic Mountains, rain forests, and glaciers of Washington to the swampy gators of the Florida Everglades, or the windswept hush of Kansas to the roar of the New Jersey Turnpike, our basic geography alone divides us.  Regional distinctions abound; for the reality of a back-to-the-land Vermonter might as well be its own subject of anthropology when compared next to a Sunbelt computer programmer in Tucson, a shrimper’s day to day humid toil in the Gulf of Mexico to a Montana rancher baling hay in the first snowstorm before Labor Day.  Our dialects and our diets wildly diverge; we are what we speak and eat where we’re from, and Southern ain’t New England any more than a Midwest casserole hotdish makes a lick of sense to a Tex-Mex plate of frijoles con carne asada.  No, what keeps us together is the Constitution, that we are a nation of laws.  And we vote.  Call us “e plebiscite unum.”  Read the rest of this entry »


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