Saturday, May 2, 2009

A brief word about activist judges

Matt Yglesias:

The idea of an “activist judge” is something that was cooked up by white supremacists in the 1950s and 60s who didn’t like judges bossing people around and telling them they had to let black people vote and go to school. To me, frankly, it’s a bit shocking that modern-day conservatives are still so eager to associate themselves with the legacy of the racist backlash of a couple of generations ago.

Except that it's not shocking at all. But it is interesting to think about why some social conservatives today are leaning on the same language they were using 40 and 50 years ago.

Anyway, several years ago, Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer spoke about this silliness:
"The fact is, once I'm appointed, I'm not a judge for one group or another group," he said. "And when I write a dissent or when I write a majority, the people that disagree with me the most -- I'm their justice too."


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