Activists on the right have bemoaned the actions of the Supreme Court for decades, complaining that the court has departed from its constitutional mandate to interpret the Constitution by “legislating from the bench.” By interpreting the Constitution as an evolving document with room to change along with our society, they reasoned, the court was performing the role slated for Congress.
Now however, with the impending departure of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the prospect of a Supreme Court dominated by conservative justices has the left wrestling with similar concerns. Many of the most controversial matters the court has handled over the past decade have been decided by one or two votes.
The departure of O’Connor, coupled with Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s recent health problems, has raised the specter of a radically different judicial landscape appearing in the near future, and liberals see a tremendous danger to gains made in civil rights, environmental, reproductive health and many other areas.
While conservatives and liberals disagree about what constitutes “judicial activism,” one thing is certain. We, as a nation, do not have a clear sense of just what the role of the Supreme Court in shaping our nation and its policies should be.
Come to a Café Society meeting near you to hear your neighbors’ opinions, and share your own.
This Week’s Articles
- Needed: Active Judges
- So Who Are the Activists?
- Activist Judges: Just Ignore Them
- Judicial Jeopardy: Questions for Nominees
For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.