Sunday, May 29, 2005

Judicial Activism Swings Both Ways

The Internet is ablaze with talk of the Indiana judge who issued a divorce decree barring the couple from teaching their son Wicca. I'd go so far as to say there's too much distressing going on, since the judge is so clearly wrong and has justly been criticized from all sides. It's a decision that can only last until it's heard on appeal.

But one interesting side-effect of the story is that the ones crying the loudest now are many of the same people who have loudly denounced the existence of judicial activism in the past. If Judge Roy Moore hadn't already provided the poster-boy case of the activist judge, Judge Cale Bradford has now.

Sure, some people tend to cry 'activism' at any opinion they disagree with. Others pretend that it can't be a bipartisan afflication. But just because some folks don't have their political science straight doesn't mean that judges can't be activist, putting their personal beliefs above established law and precedent. This story is a prime example of that.

I'd like the pundits on both sides to remember this in the future. To remember that, on one hand, judges can let their opinions unfairly influence their rulings, and on the other hand, that conservative judges as well as liberal judges are capable of doing so.

I'd like to think that, but I won't hold my breath.


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