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Currently viewing the tag: "Judicial Activism"

To date, three federal judges have ruled on the question of whether recently passed health care legislation is constitutional.  Two federal courts (one in Michigan and one in the Western District of Virginia) ruled that HCR (and the individual mandate included in it) is constitutional.  Today, however, a conservative federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia (who was appointed by George W. Bush and hand-picked by ultra-wingnut Virginia Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli to hear the case) took a “radical” view of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause and ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

Definitions of Judicial Activism

Before I get into the relative merits of the various judges’ approaches from a legal perspective, let’s reflect for a moment on the two leading definitions of “judicial activism”:

Most Republicans generally consider judicial activism to mean “judicial rulings that we disagree with”.

Other people that pay attention to this stuff generally consider judicial activism to roughly mean “a decision by a court that ignores or misconstrues prior judicial precedent in order to overturn the will of the people (as expressed by legislation enacted by their elected representatives or otherwise) in order to reach an ideology-driven result.”

Let’s just say that I’m in the latter camp — and find today’s ruling to be a great example of judicial activism.

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