Sunday, December 10, 2006

Judicial activism

Judicial Activism is the tendency of some judges to take a flexible view of their power of judicial interpretation, especially when such judges import subjective reasoning that displaces objective evaluation of applicable law. The term is usually used pejoratively to describe decisions that are perceived to endorse a particular agenda. Whether a decision is characterized as judicial activism is often a matter of political polemic. Although alleged activism may occur in many ways, the most debated cases involve courts exercising judicial review to strike down statutes as unconstitutional. Views about constitutional interpretation abound, ranging from strict constructionism to the living constitution, and therefore, in practice, any controversial decision striking down a statute may be labeled by the decision's critics as judicial activism. The phrase traditionally has represented a call for judicial restraint.