Dana Milbank: “Republicans flip-flop on ‘judicial activism’ “
From Dana Milbank 2/27/14
There was a time not too long ago when Republicans decried “activist judges.” Now they’re lamenting that judges are not being activist enough.
“Unfortunately, the courts have been reluctant to exercise their constitutionally conferred power,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) proclaimed at a hearing Wednesday. He called on the courts “to check the president’s overreach,” and he complained that “the federal courts have read their own powers much more narrowly” than they should.
This newfound love of activist judges is the latest manifestation of what has been called Obama Derangement Syndrome: The president’s opponents are so determined to thwart him that they will reverse long-held views if they believe that doing so will weaken his stature.
Republicans have, for example, long deplored the filing of “frivolous lawsuits.” But at Wednesday’s hearings, they were contemplating legislation that would authorize either chamber of Congress to file lawsuits against President Obama — even though legal experts, including one of the Republican committee members’ own witnesses, have said the efforts would fail.
Why the switch? Why the Obama Derangement Syndrome? Isn’t judicial activism what most judges do? It’s difficult to think of higher court cases that leave out politics. Is it even possible to decide cases without being political?
It’s possible, I suppose but mighty difficult.