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Please shoot down the "Won't Legislate from the bench" crapola!

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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:16 AM
Original message
Please shoot down the "Won't Legislate from the bench" crapola!
Edited on Wed Jul-20-05 11:18 AM by Armstead
One of the biggest lies that the conservatives are perpetrating is that they don't want "activist judges" who "legislate from the bench."

Liberal politicians and pundits are doing a lousy job of countering that falsehood. Therefore we are playing into the hands of the Right Wing Spinners.

The fact is, judicial activists who will legislate from the bench is EXACTLY what ultra conservatives want. When you overturn legislation, prevent regulation, intrude on the personal lives of people etc. you are a judicial activist who is legislating from the bench.

They also claim they are "strict constructionists" who are merely following the Constitution, while liberals are distorting the Constitution for their own neferious ends.

Again, Conservatives are not "strict constructionists" anymore than liberals are. They are just as flexible and opportunistic in their views of the Constitution as liberals are. want the rights they personally want, and they want Big Government and Big Federal Power when it is used to enforce their own agenda.

Let's stop buying into this particular Big Lie, and start telling it like it is.
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ewagner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
1. He already has (sort of)
Edited on Wed Jul-20-05 11:19 AM by ewagner
from a previous post

"one of them thar' Act-ti-vist Judges"....

why

In arguing the case allowing the Bush I administration to establish rules prohibiting any mention of abortion in parenthood counseling for agencies who receive federal money, Roberts gratuitously entered the argument that Roe V. Wade was wrongly decided.

Roe v Wade was not being argued. He voluntarily inserted his opinion.

That makes him one of those ACTIVIST JUDGES the right wing hates so much.

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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #1
14. Good point
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
2. Will someone please define "legislate from the bench" for me?
Seriously.
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Submariner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Legislate...as in...."Let's stop this Florida vote so our guy will
get in even though there is no precedent or rule for doing such a thing."

Legislate is making the law, while the court should just enforce the law.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Nope. Wrong branch....
Legislature makes the law, the executive branch enforces the law and the judicial branch interprets the law.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. If a court makes a ruling beyonbd mere interpretation of existing law
Edited on Wed Jul-20-05 11:27 AM by Armstead
It is a valid point that is being misused by conservatives.

Courts are supposed to interpret cases on their own merits, and how a case reflects the principles of established law and Constitutional intent.

"Legislating from the bench" is when judges overstep that role, and make decisions and change policies that are contrary both to the intent of the Constitution and legislated policies. Usually that occurs when judges look at cases as opportunities to advance an ideological agenda.

In reality, it is impossible for judges not to legislate from the bench to an extent, because rulings do have an effect on legislated policies. However, the real issue is whether a court is doing that deliberatly to advance an ideology, rather than operating in honest good faith efforts to interpret existing law.

That is why it is important that judges be moderate, rather than ideologically driven. Any judge whose decisions are too consistent is usually an ideologue rather than an honest jurist.

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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. That is what I tried to say below. You said it better.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. In my opinion it means a judge is doing his/her job.
But it is an expression used to convey someone's displeasure at the job he/she is doing.

This whole talking point actually amuses the daylights out of me. Judges have a constitutional responsibility to act as a check and balance against the other two branches of government. They are supposed to interpret the law. Sometimes that means upholding it and sometimes that means declaring it unconstitutional. Any judge performing his/her duties in good conscience is in essence legislating from the bench.

Of course, the constitution is open to interpretation so anyone is free to disagree with a ruling...even on the grounds of constitutionality.

We have the convenient nonsense terms "legislating from the bench" and "activist judges" to connote displeasure by somehow insinuating the judge has overstepped his/her constitutional duties. I'll give you two chances to guess which group came up with these semantic gems.

If you guessed the far right whose affiliated judges are most likely to interpret cases contrary to the U.S. Constitution you're a winner. Remember it's all about hypocrisy and irony when it isn't about power grabs and money.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. The Big Lie is that only liberals do it
That is what is so damn annoying when Democrats and progressives are silent about this damn lie and allow the perception that conservatives are "strict constructionists."

When conservatives claim there is "no right to privacy" in the Constitution to protect reproductive rights, for example, they are not adhering to the Constitution anymore than pro-choice liberals are.

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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. The silence drives me crazy.
I would love to see so many of their dumb phrases shoved right back up their.....well you get the idea.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. I agree
That's why i posted this.

It is such a simple LIE that the democratic politicians and liberal pundits could shoot it down easily if they attacked it with a unified voice. The baffling thing is why they don't.

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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. "Legislating from the bench" is when...
Edited on Wed Jul-20-05 11:32 AM by Tesha
"Legislating from the bench" is when courts affect laws that
conservatives like (such as Roe v Wade overturning religiously-
inspired restrictions on abortion or suppressing racist test
that prevented minorities from exercising their voting rights).

"Preserving constitutional protections" is when the courts affect
laws that conservatives don't like (such as when the courts invalidate
environmental protections, hate crime laws, or gun restrictions).

Tesha
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #2
12. They Could Ban Abortion from the Bench
Edited on Wed Jul-20-05 11:42 AM by AndyTiedye
If they went beyond overturning Roe v. Wade, to issuing a ruling that
banned abortion nationwide, that would be legislating from the bench.

It is also a very real possibility.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Liberty equals privacy
When conservatives claim there is no "right to privacy" that supports abortion rights they are beinbg very flexible in their interpretation, by ignoring the connection between liberty and privacy.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Remeber How Pissed the RW Was About the Sodomy Ruling
That one was also on privacy grounds, but the wingers went apeshit.

They will be looking to overturn that, so they can start locking up gays again.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. The Constitution does not contain the words "right to sodomize"
Therefore it is not protected by the Constitution, according to the idiotic logic of conservatives.

They never recognize that the Constitution also doesn't protect "missionary position" heterosexual activity either.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
15. Mainly, conservatives need to stop trying to pass unconstitutional laws
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Jeff In Milwaukee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
16. Bush v. Gore
If ever there was a case that went even beyond "legislating from the bench," it would be the Supreme Court's decision that basically allowed five members of the federal bench to dictate the terms of Florida's Election laws.

Any time -- ANY TIME -- a conservative spouts that nonsense, ask if he thinks Bush should resign because he would not otherwise be POTUS were it not for judicial activists.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. But,but,but.....That was different.
They elected from the bench. They didn't "legislate" from the bench.

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