I think Republican Party honchos may be underestimating the grassroots passion over the judiciary. The outrage against activist courts -- and by no means are all of them activist -- is real, growing and far from a fringe phenomenon.
Conservative activists have been patiently waiting for some action, just some evidence that the Republican Party is going to pay more than hollow Beltway lip service to this issue. Year after year, though politicians are elected promising change, little evidence emerges that the promises are being fulfilled.
More and more conservatives are advocating civil disobedience to combat what they consider to be extra-constitutional decisions by state and federal courts, like the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's brazen validation of homosexual marriage.
It is inconceivable that the Massachusetts judges were unaware that they were acting beyond the scope of their constitutional authority by judicially rewriting the state constitution. But that doesn't bother secular liberals, on or off the bench, because the "ends" to them are sufficiently important to justify practically any means.
The Democratic Party has long advocated the use of judicial activism to effectuate liberal policies that could not be achieved through democratic (legislative) processes. They make no apologies for their advocacy, nor do they bother to explain their hypocrisy in selectively decrying the few instances of judicial activism emanating from the other side.
Don't just assume that fringe groups are losing their patience. How long can "rule of law" conservatives sit idly by as liberal Democrats continue to break the rules with impunity? How much more do they have to tolerate before something is done in response to such cavalier judicial behavior as we witnessed when the federal courts ignored Congress' statute in the Terri Schiavo matter?
I realize that some have difficulty with Congress (and the Florida legislature before it) sticking its nose into that case through what could arguably be called special legislation. Legislatures are supposed to pass general laws, not special laws.
On the other hand, a woman was being killed by order of state and public officials, who were sworn to uphold state and federal constitutions, and have an obligation to protect the lives of innocent citizens.