Saturday, January 10, 2015

Republicans Turn To "Judicial Activism"

For years, Republicans have railed against "liberal judicial activism." So who are they turning to in order to block President Obama's agenda and aid their own? The courts. No matter how they spin it, they're not relying on the legislature. One hopes that the Republicans appreciate the irony:

As Republicans prepare to take full control of Congress on Tuesday, the party’s leaders are counting on judges, not their newly elected majority on Capitol Hill, to roll back President Obama’s aggressive second-term agenda and block his executive actions on health care, climate change and immigration.

On health care, Republicans in Washington have sued the president and joined state lawsuits urging the Supreme Court to declare major parts of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. On climate change, state attorneys general and coal industry groups are urging federal courts to block the president’s plan to regulate power plants. And on immigration, conservative lawmakers and state officials have demanded that federal judges overturn Mr. Obama’s plan to prevent millions of deportations.


Democrats say the legal moves reflect a convenient turnabout for the Republican Party and a newfound willingness to seek an active role for the judiciary when it benefits conservative policy goals.

“What they cannot win in the legislative body, they now seek and hope to achieve through judicial activism,” said Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia. “That is such delicious irony, it makes one’s head spin.”

But conservative legal scholars say Republicans are justified in seeking judicial relief from what they believe has been a series of egregious abuses of power by Mr. Obama. They argue that urging the courts to restrain the president’s authority is legally different from a liberal judge’s using rulings to invent new rights under the Constitution.

Legal distinctions aside, the results may be similar: In 2015, major policy decisions affecting millions of Americans will be debated and decided in courtrooms, not legislatures.


Photo: Monte Wolverton, Syndicated by Cagle Cartoon

1 comment:

Michael J. Mand said...

Still, I'm not sure whom I trust less, the current judiciary or the current legislature. It's like having to choose between a whoopie cushion and an exploding cigar. (I think Murray Slaughter used that analogy on an episode of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'.