Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Holding Court

There was a lot of talk about the Supreme Court's recent decisions, and Slate had a stimulating roundtable about the issues involved. The first installment is here, and there are 18 after that (some briefer than others). I particularly liked this post by Cliff Sloan, because I agree completely with this:
When somebody says, "activist," it often simply means, "I don't agree with that decision." That's what it means, at any rate, when it's not being used merely to score cheap political points.
And because Sloan, like the others involved in the discussion, tends to take both sides seriously, as he does here:
I happen to disagree with the court's conclusion in both these cases, and I think the dissents have the better of the arguments. But I don't think there's anything inappropriately "activist" in the court's determinations today that the political branches exceeded constitutional bounds. Justice Scalia's opinion in parsing the peculiarly written Second Amendment certainly is not a frivolous interpretation. I do think his interpretation can legitimately be faulted . . . But the project of construing constitutional language and enforcing constitutional provisions is exactly what courts should be doing, and we shouldn't disparage it as some "activist" frolic, even if there's a lively debate about the correct constitutional interpretation.


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