Bill Whitaker: ‘Judicial activism’ abuse isn’t solely limited to liberal jurists

Bill Whitaker: 'Judicial activism' abuse isn't solely limited to liberal jurists

In coming weeks, expect Senate Republicans to turn up the volume on the need for increasing the majority of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who qualify as constitutional textualists, as in jurists who draw their court decisions and resolve disputes from a plain, presumably faithful reading of the Constitution as written at the time rather than broadly interpreting it in a “judicially active” manner that the Framers never envisioned or imagined. It’s an intellectual counterbalance to those who view the founding document as a “living Constitution” whose principles are to be applied, with wise discretion, in a latter-day context. And amidst these ideological claims and counterclaims from on high is a less familiar but stubborn truism: One man’s constitutionalist is another man’s judicial activist. Texas’ two Republican senators lost no time invoking their constitutionalist argument to beat the drums for federal appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s rushed nomination for a lifetime seat on the high court upon the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. John Cornyn touts Barrett as one who recognizes “the importance of an independent judiciary that interprets the law and Constitution as written and operates free from political pressure.” Ted Cruz thoroughly politicized her all-but-certain Senate confirmation during Barrett’s ceremonial visit to his office last week: “And when the Senate does so, we will be honoring the promise we made to the American people — to confirm principled constitutionalists to the Supreme Court.” First things first. Democrats have lost the ideological battle for the Supreme Court […]

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