Soon every law student could recite in his sleep Chief Justice John Marshall's line in Marbury: "It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is." So shut up and go home.
To take one example of a ludicrous ruling, at random, off the top of my head: In 1973, the Supreme Court announced that the Constitution mandates a right to abortion.
The Constitution says nothing about reproduction, contraception, fetuses, pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome, morning sickness -- much less abortion. (As the tea partiers say: Read the Constitution!)
It does, however, expressly grant to the states those powers not reserved to the people (such as the right to bear arms) or explicitly given to Congress (such as the right to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several states and with the Indian tribes).
Obviously, therefore, the Constitution implicitly entrusted abortion laws to the states.
One hint that a "constitutional" right to abortion is not based on anything in the Constitution is that during oral argument, as the lawyer arguing for this apocryphal right ticked off the constitutional provisions allegedly supporting it -- the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, the Ninth Amendment, "and a variety of others" -- the entire courtroom burst into laughter.
The ruling in Roe, incidentally, struck down the duly constituted and passed laws of all 50 states. (But that is soooo 53 million abortions ago ...)
When conservatives complain about "judicial activism," this is what they're talking about: Decisions not plausibly based on anything in the Constitution.
Curiously, the only court opinions liberals really get excited about are the ones having nothing to do with the Constitution: abortion, nude dancing, gay marriage, pornography, coddling criminals, etc., etc.
Liberals try to hide their treachery by pretending that what conservatives are really upset about is the Supreme Court striking down any law passed by any legislature. This is a preposterous lie that could fool only the irredeemably credulous.
Which brings us to the brilliant ex-law professor, who manifestly doesn't have the faintest understanding of the Constitution.
On Monday, President Obama shocked even his fellow liberals when he claimed that it would be "an unprecedented, extraordinary step" for the Supreme Court to overturn "a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress." (Which Obamacare wasn't.)
He added: "I'd just remind conservative commentators that for years what we've heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint."
I guess now we know why Obama won't release his college and law school transcripts!
It was so embarrassing that Obama attempted a clarification on Tuesday, but only made things worse. He said: "We have not seen a court overturn a law that was passed by Congress on an economic issue, like health care," since the '30s.
Except in 1995. And then again in 2000. (Do we know for a fact that this guy went to Columbia and Harvard Law?)
In the former case, U.S. v. Lopez, the Supreme Court struck down the Gun-Free School Zone Act -- which was, by the way, a "duly constituted and passed law"! And then the court did it again in U.S. v. Morrison, when it overturned another "duly constituted and passed law," the Violence Against Women Act.
Both laws were defended by the Clinton administration as "economic" regulations, passed by Congress pursuant to the Commerce Clause with arguments as stretched as the ones used to defend Obamacare. The Gun-Free School Zone Act, for example, was said to address the economic hardship, health care costs, insurance costs and unwillingness to travel created by violent crime.
Conservatives want the rule of law, not silence from the judges. Not striking down an unconstitutional law is judicial activism every bit as much as invalidating a constitutional one.
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