The “Judicial Activism” Ploy


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Now that two different federal courts have declared ObamaCare unconstitutional, the administration’s answer is to call the courts guilty of “judicial activism.”

Barack Obama has a rhetorical solution for every problem. Remember the repeated claims of “shovel-ready” projects that needed only federal stimulus money to get started? Last year the President quietly admitted that there were not many “shovel-ready” projects, after all.

But the phrase served its political purpose at the time— and that was obviously all that mattered. Now, in the wake of rulings by two different courts that ObamaCare is unconstitutional, rhetoric is being mobilized again, without any fussy worries about facts.

“Judicial activism” is a term coined years ago by critics of judges who make rulings based on their own beliefs and preferences, rather than on the law as written. It is not a very complicated notion, but political rhetoric can confuse and distort anything.

In recent years, a brand-new definition of “judicial activism” has been created by the political left, so that they can turn the tables on critics of judicial activism.

The new definition of “judicial activism” defines it as declaring laws unconstitutional.

It is a simpler, easily quantifiable definition. You don’t need to ask whether Congress exceeded its authority under the Constitution. That key question can be sidestepped by simply calling the judge a “judicial activist.”

A judge who lets politicians do whatever they want to, whether or not it violates the Constitution, never has to worry about being called a judicial activist by the left or by most of the media. But the rest of us have to worry about what is going to happen to this country if politicians can get away with ignoring the Constitution.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution says that the federal government can do only what it has been specifically authorized to do by the Constitution. Everything else is left to the states or to the people themselves.

Nevertheless, back in 1942, the Supreme Court said that because the federal government has the right to regulate interstate commerce, the Department of Agriculture could tell a farmer how much wheat he could grow, even if the wheat never left his farm and was consumed there by his family and their farm animals.

That case was a landmark, whose implications reached far beyond farming.

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  • scum

    Gee, I didn't see the wealthy complaining when the U.S. gov't handed out millions of acres to RR's in the 19th century. I didn't see the wealthy complain when the government agreed to send in troops to stop striking workers. I didn't see the wealthy complain when the gov't started doling out the big $ to corporations doing business overseas. I didn't see the wealthy complain when Obama handed out billions to begging CEO's as he saved capitalism from the idiocy of the Bush years. The 10th amendment is dead, dude, and you know it. It's a catch-all canard that's tossed about anytime time someone doesn't like what the government does.

    • coyote3

      Then it needs to be repealed not ignored and violated. Also, the 10th amendment is very much alive in quite a few recent Supreme Court decision, that stated specifically, that the federal government's power had been exceeded, and the statute at issue was dead.

    • coyote3

      Sometimes this gets so easy that it is hard to stop. Federal land grants are part of the power delegated to the federal government by the constitution. Likewise, in the cases where federal troops were actually used (most of the time it was the state national guard under the direction of the respective governors), it was at the request of the governor of the respective states, and that, likewise is a power delegated by the constitution to the federal government. The $ you are talking about to corporations were in the form of tax incentives, etc., on the federal level, another delegated power, to the federal government. If you mean the damage to the U.S. economy done, by bailouts, that is being challenged, and the result is yet to be known.

  • So Cal Mike

    Scum and the rest of the Great Unwashed Brainwashed need to stop worshiping the government.
    At best the Guv is a necessary evil; at worst…you know the rest except Scum and the Great Rest.
    Guv is a false god. The sooner you stop worshiping it, the sooner the Guv won’t feel the need or expectation to be worshiped.
    Pelosi and Obama are beyond arrogant control freaks who expect to be worshiped.