Scalia on Judicial Activism
Justice Scalia, speaking this week to an audience at William Carey University, expressed his familiar views on "judicial activism":
"There are four justices who have sat beside me who believe that the death penalty is now unconstitutional...and they believe it to be unconstitutional because they think it ought to be," he told the WCU audience.
Or maybe they believe the death penalty is unconstitutional because it is unconstitutional. If equal protection of the law means anything, it surely means that convicted defendants should not live or die based on the arbitrary charging decisions made by prosecutors, or the tendency of juries to vote for death when the crime victim is white. [more ...]
"Over the course of the last 15 years, I personally have become convinced that anyone who is committed to racial equality has to be committed to abolishing the death penalty as well," said [Sheri Lynn] Johnson, who co-founded the Cornell Death Penalty Project.
"Judicial activism" is in the eye of the beholder. Justice Scalia's view is cross-eyed. He sees no equal protection violation in the arbitrary administration of the death penalty, but concluded that arguably different standards used by different counties in Florida to recount ballots was an equal protection violation -- one that entitled the Supreme Court to stop the recount, effectively choosing George Bush, rather than Al Gore, as president. If that wasn't judicial activism, what is?
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