Is the Roberts’-Era Supreme Court An Activist Court?
Posted by KingShamus on June 26, 2012
Short Answer: No.
“The Roberts court is finding laws unconstitutional and reversing precedent — two measures of activism — no more often than earlier courts.” The data accompanying the article shows this is an understatement. Specifically, the data show the following:
- The Warren, Burger and Rehnquist Courts overturned precedents at an average rate of 2.7, 2.8 and 2.4 per term, respectively. The Roberts Court, on the other hand, has only overturned an average of 1.6 precedents per term.
- The Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts struck down an average of 7.9, 12.5, and 8.2 laws per term, whereas the Roberts Court has only invalidated an average of 3 laws per term.
For liberals, it’s a prudent Court decision if they get their way and JUDICIALACTIVISMOMFGWTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!11!!!1eleventy!!!!!!! if they don’t.
As others have said, if the Supreme Court rules against the Left’s signature piece of legislation the progressive movement will be in hyper-tantrum mode. Look for spittle-flecked rage from the whole juice-box mafia crowd as they rail against an ‘unprecedented’, ‘wildly activist’, ‘undemocratic’ and ‘un-American’ decision. Hell, it wouldn’t shock me if the Roberts Court gets called raaaaacist by Lawrence O’Donnell.
The problem for the Left is that for the last fifty years, the courts have been where they’ve won most of their victories. Griswold v. Connecticut, Miranda v. Arizona, Engel v. Vitale and Roe vs. Wade all either created laws and legal procedures favored by liberals air or negated democratically-enacted legislation that progressives didn’t like. California’s Prop 8, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, was struck down by a 9th Circuit Court judge not through any legislative process.
After fifty years of reveling in judicial activism, it’s going to take a whole lot of ideological Twister on the part of American liberals to now argue that the Supreme Court ruling against ObamaCare is some kind of crazy unprecedented decision. But don’t worry. I think the progressives are more than capable of pulling off that trick.
MORE, SORTA RELATED: Say, who is writing the minority decision on the ObamaCare ruling?
Via DrewM, I’m embarrassed that it didn’t occur to me in the other post to ask whether any of the Court’s liberals have taken on a conspicuously lighter workload lately. Sotomayor’s written the fewest among the Court’s left wing, according to Sean Trende, but that might be due to the fact that she’s a junior justice and isn’t getting as many assigned to her.
What’s Ginsburg been up to, though?
There are three cases left on the court’s docket, and the cases will be released in reverse order of the authoring justice’s seniority — beginning with Justice Elena Kagan, the newest justice.
Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to author the majority ruling in the health case — because of its significance and because Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the Arizona opinion, which was the second most controversial case of the term. Plus, neither he nor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have published any opinions since May 24. During that time, every other justice has published at least two majority opinions.
Here’s the list of slip opinions for the term at the Court’s website. Since May 21, every justice besides Roberts and Ginsburg has authored at least two majority opinions. It’s a lead-pipe cinch that there’ll be some enormous omnibus dissent responding to the majority in the ObamaCare case, and since Roberts is almost certainly writing for the Court, that leaves RBG as the likeliest suspect for the dissent
Read the rest. Allahpundit goes through some crazy-yet-plausible scenarios. Some wacky stuff could be happening on Thursday.