Are Conservatives on Court Guilty of Judicial Activism?
Left thinks so, but right defends Scalia and Co.
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2012 12:16 PM CDT
This artist rendering shows Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli speaking in front of the Supreme Court.   (AP Photo/Dana Verkouteren)

(Newser) – Today's big debate on health care reform seems to be whether the Supreme Court's conservatives were acting more like legislators than justices. Voices on the left think so and are raising cries of judicial activism. Pundits on the right disagree. A roundup of samples:

  • EJ Dionne, Washington Post: Hey, he wonders, aren't liberal judges supposed to be the ones guilty of judicial activism? You wouldn't know it from the way Antonin Scalia and crew were acting—as if they were "they were members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee." He even trots out the term "judicial dictatorship." If the law is struck down, "a court that gave us Bush v. Gore will prove conclusively that it sees no limits on its power, no need to defer to those elected to make our laws. A Supreme Court that is supposed to give us justice will instead deliver ideology." Full column here.

  • Jonathan Chait, New York: He's on board with Dionne. The idea "that Republican jurisprudence would be defined by aggressive economic judicial activism" would have seemed far-fetched not too long ago. "But just as there are few atheists in foxholes, there aren’t a lot of justices of any persuasion willing to walk away from a chance to overturn a duly-passed law that they personally detest. Full post here.
  • Neil Snyder, American Prospect: He picks apart Dionne's column specifically. Judicial dictatorship? "Nothing could be further from the truth, and even suggesting that ObamaCare was the product of the democratic process is dishonest." The justices aren't trying to "nullify the legislative process" because there was no legislative process. The individual mandate is unconstitutional pure and simple, he writes, and that's why it should fall. Full post here.
  • William Teach, Right Wing News: He, too, takes on Dionne. Remember, he writes, one of the purposes of the court is "to be a check against the powers of the Legislative and Executive branches, to make sure they stay within the framework of the Constitution. Why do conservatives constantly have to teach liberals these things?" Full post here.

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Mar 30, 2012 10:05 AM CDT
wrong,Obamacare is an attack on this nation! and they have no right to control and force us to do anything! where is your head! stand by your freedom of choice and what this country stands for,Because this is not a bill good for this country.Anyone who thinks it is,just does not know much about it.And thinks Obama knows best! well it shows how far off your mind really is on this too.Because Obama has done everything wrong for this country,he has completely failed in all areas of leadership! This bill is no magic wand of wonders! it is just like everything else he has done against this country and is doing to this day! it is a failed bill! we can and will choose for ourselves what is best for us in America! if you want to be control and would like a dictator i would suggest you move to Saudi Arabia,Syria,Iran,or maybe Obama would like to take his flock to an island somewhere so you can live a much happier life.We will keep America a free country.Like we have fought to do.But there are idiots among us.
Mar 29, 2012 9:40 PM CDT
The Bill of Rights has "life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness." Do we throw that out because The Constitution has nothing in it that protects human lives? Obamacare is reasonable commerce that will save lives. If not, then govt. should be mandated into writing a binding law stating that health care is a RIGHT. If health care is a right, the challenge to Obamacare would never reach The supreme Court in the first place.
Mar 29, 2012 8:46 PM CDT
The problems America has with respect to health care comes from the fact that politicians take money from the health industry. If they didn't, public health care would have become a reality years ago. How sane is it to for a politician to support corporate profits over people? Even the conservative justices spout "tea party" talking points. How can a govt. rotten to the core hide behind The Constitution when they clearly don't represent Americans in the first place?