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July 19, 2005

Is Roy Moore a judicial activist?

Watching the replay of the O'Reilly Factor this morning, I heard Jonah Goldberg explain why he listed judge Roy Moore in his book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. According to Goldberg, Moore, by refusing to obey the order by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to remove the monument he'd placed in Alabama's judicial building's rotunda, showed himself to be a “judicial activist”. The US Supreme Court refused to hear Moore's appeal.

So is judicial activism defined by the acts of a judge outside the court? Moore didn't make any rulings about the monument, he simply refused to obey the unconstitutional rulings by the activist judge Myron Thompson, who was not following the Constitution. How does that make Roy Moore an activist judge?

I haven't read Goldberg's book. I'm now hesitant to do so if he's making such idiotic claims about Roy Moore.

Posted by Danny Carlton at July 19, 2005 09:35 AM

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It makes him an activist for not following
the order first and then challenging it by
new suit or appeal. In effect he put his
own views above the law as determined by
a higher court.

Posted by: beezle at July 19, 2005 05:04 PM

By that definition any person that ever defies a court order is a "judicial activist". That doesn't make much sense. You and Goldberg are using illogical definitions.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at July 19, 2005 05:24 PM

Well, Webster defines activism as a "doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue".

I don't think Moore is challenging the judicial system. Rather, he is challenging the challenge to the placement of a religious monument in a courthouse. Wouldn't that instead qualify him as a religious activist, religious monument placement activist, Christian influence on government activist, etc.?

As for judicial activist, I think just about every person in the world qualifies for this title. Either you support a judicial system or you don't.

("Just about" allows a little wiggle room for guys like those in the Amazon that don't give a flyin' flip about any of this and are simply happy running through the jungle in their birthday suits.)

Posted by: Toxic Avenger at July 19, 2005 10:57 PM

The term "judicial activism" refers to judges who use their authority on the bench to implement their personal politics and opinions. As with the same-sex marriage, defining something to mean anything, makes it mean nothing.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at July 20, 2005 06:59 AM

I agree.

Under your definition of "judicial activism", Roy Moore's actions wouldn't qualify under the grouping judicial because he never acted within a judicial capacity with regard to this issue. You make a very good point.

Still, "religious monument placement on local government property activist" and other descriptive titles are alot of fun. And since "judicial activist" IS getting defined to death, perhaps Roy Moore deserves a more appropriate title. :)

Maybe "judicial activism" should be relabeled as "judicial misuse". ;)

It seems we have two major issues pertaining to the judicial system. The first issue pertains to how closely the value systems of judges parallel the value systems of America. And as long as judges objectively apply those value systems, that pretty much defines the extent of that problem.

But, the second issue is more disturbing. A judge should weigh each case independently and offer rulings that are consistent with a sound belief system and that only consider facts in the case. When a judge begins weighing facts outside a case, however, I believe she or he is committing a violation in ethics. For example, when a judge tries to consider how a ruling will impact individuals and communities outside the case, or even the nation, that judge is performing a dis-service to the defendant. In fact, I would say the defendant in such a case was denied a fair trial. When a judge passes a ruling on an individual or company with a political end in mind, how has that individual or company received a fair trial?

Case law development should be a happenstance process, not an ill-conceived plan.

Posted by: Toxic Avenger at July 20, 2005 09:08 AM

In Judge Moore's case, though, his actions in placing the monument were consistent with both the actions of the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution as well as the way in which their actions demonstrated their own interpretation of what they wrote. They conflicted with the wild interpretations forced on the court by activist judges through the years. So in essence he would be the furthest thing from an activist judge in that he risked his career to defend the law against activist judges.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at July 20, 2005 11:31 AM


Posted by: Toxic Avenger at July 20, 2005 11:46 AM

I don't think you agree with Danny enough for my taste, Mr 'Avenger'. What's wrong with just mega-dittos and leaving it at that?


Posted by: spacemonkey at July 20, 2005 11:59 AM

Because I can't resist the urge to pollute the waters with my self-righteous rambling.

And besides, I'm becoming addicted to Danny's blog.

Ok, ok, number one super happy fun China ditto's, Danny. :)

Maybe that will get the "sub-orbital primate" off my back.

It's not like I really like this site. I just have a permenant link to it on my blog, and keep coming back every 5 minutes. (You know, maybe I do have a very nasty sarcasm habit. I need help.)

Sincerely, I do like your site, Danny. Very thought provocative. Definitely makes you think.

Posted by: Toxic Avenger at July 20, 2005 01:31 PM

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