Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Father Joe and activism
Two separate points.
I too recommend Father Joe. It is an excellent book (though I found Father Joe's visitor annoying some of the time).
I also appreciate Richard's point about Sotomayor. If she is pro choice, she can hardly be accused of engaging in results oriented jurisprudence in the abortion cases she has heard.
I think, however, that the term "activist" has been used in a one-sided way and is not very helpful in any event. I would hope that the Sotomayor confirmation process would frontally attack the conservative claim that their justices interpret the Constitution and that liberals are “activists.” When the conservatives disable Congressional power (contrary to many decades of judicial precedent - even conceding that commerce clause interpretations had gone quite far) and in some cases obviously mangling the Constitution, e.g., the eleventh amendment cases) and when they overthrow affirmative action (despite the original meaning of the 14th amendment all the while claiming that they adhere to original meaning), it is hard to understand why their decisions are not activist. Staring at the word activist does not help in the process of constitutional interpretation. It is just an ideological term employed by conservatives, and it should be understood as such.