Conservatives in this country have been yipping in chorus for years about "activist judges," and frankly, like fools, many of you bought into the phony political rhetoric about those terrible jurists.
Somehow, activist judges are held responsible for gay marriage, Roe v. Wade and everything else Americans disagree about, as though Americans would never disagree without their encouragement. Conservatives have been mad at the Supreme Court since it decided to desegregate the schools in 1954 and seen fit to blame the federal bench for everything that has happened since then that they don't like.
As any liberal could have told you, the conservatives didn't want a right-wing shift on the nation's courts because of "social issues" -- that's just a handy political ploy. Honestly, people, haven't you figured out what this is all about yet? Money. The conservatives are in a snit about "liberal courts" because of money.
Corporations being prosecuted for breaking the law! Tobacco companies forced to pay huge fines! Oil and chemical companies made to pay for cleanup at Superfund sites! Oh, the horror, the horror. The Wall Street Journal's editorial page couldn't stop shivering over it for years.
Meanwhile, what a nice gift from the federal bench to the insurance companies when a federal judge in Mississippi decided that hurricane insurance policies excluding water damage are "valid and enforceable." As many of our fellow citizens had an opportunity to learn during Katrina, it's a challenge to sit around in a class IV hurricane, trying to figure out which is wind and which is water damage. "Ooops, there goes the roof, probably wind, followed by a huge run of waves rolling over the house, could be water."
Money, money, money is the motif of the "New Activist" federal judges, but they have also been busy, busy limiting congressional authority and individual rights. As People for the American Way notes, federal appellate courts -- effectively the court of last resort for most Americans -- are working on: questioning the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act, overturning the National Labor Relations Board rulings against anti-union discrimination and other unfair labor practices by employers, allowing the Bush administration to keep secret the records of the Cheney energy task force and rewriting by court order a state law on First Amendment activity.
Other Bush appellate judges have ruled to deny protection to workers who file claims of race and disability discrimination, made it harder to protect the environment, and issued other decisions that will affect our lives and liberties for decades.
Activist judges, indeed.
I like Molly. I never have to add much.