Friday, May 8, 2009

Thomas Sowell on judicial activism semantics

This process of “interpreting” the Constitution (or legislation) to mean pretty much whatever you want it to mean, no matter how plainly the words say something else, has been called judicial activism. But, as a result of widespread objections to this, that problem has been solved by redefining “judicial activism” to mean something different.

By the new definition, a judge who declares legislation that exceeds the authority of the legislature unconstitutional is called a “judicial activist.”

The verbal virtuosity is breathtaking. With just a new meaning to an old phrase, reality is turned upside down. Those who oppose letting government actions exceed the bounds of the Constitution — justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — are now called “judicial activists.” It is a verbal coup.

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