Legislating From the Bench

September 20, 2007

Looks like New Jersey’s anti-abortion crusaders are trying to use the courts to circumvent the will of the people again.

I know it’s not supposed to happen that way — as anyone who reads National Review, the Weekly Standard or the American Spectator can tell you, winger pundits complain about liberal judges who “legislate from the bench” with the regularity of a clock tower tolling the hours. Any time a judge overturns some bit of legislation dear to the hearts of the wingnut crowd, the cry “activist judge!” rises from the conservative aviary. The notion that left-wingers can only get their way through politically motivated litigation is the oldest shibboleth in the right-wing code book.

It’s a pretty funny complaint, considering that the wingers’ choice for president owes his presence in the White House to some pretty determined judicial activism in the U.S. Supreme Court. By now, accusing conservatives of hypocrisy is like accusing fish of living in water, but I think Thurman handles the issue with particular flair.


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