Thursday, June 12, 2008

Activist judges

I keep looking at Antonin Scalia's dissension to the Guantanamo Bay habeas ruling:

"Scalia said the nation is 'at war with radical Islamists' and that the court's decision 'will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.'"

In what way do these words form a part of a judicial ruling, especially from one who touts himself as a supporter of the original meaning point of view? Is Scalia suggesting that a ruling on habeas corpus depends on whether the bench thinks executive branch tactics are effective instead of constitutional? And even if he's correct in terms of policy, what does this have to do with constitutional interpretation? Isn't it possible for certain policies that are constitutional to put Americans at risk of death? Should we revoke driver licenses?

His line sounds like something you'd hear from a legislator (and a lunatic right-wing one, at that), not a justice. Judicial activism is meaningless as a code word for left leaning judges given its adoption by right wingers like Scalia.

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