Today's column finds Glenn wondering aloud what President Obama meant when he made this statement during an interview Wednesday evening aboard Air Force One:
It used to be that the notion of an activist judge was somebody who ignored the will of Congress, ignored democratic processes, and tried to impose judicial solutions on problems instead of letting the process work itself through politically. And in the '60s and '70s, the feeling was, is that liberals were guilty of that kind of approach.
What you're now seeing, I think, is a conservative jurisprudence that oftentimes makes the same error.
Glenn's emphasis. Glenn wondered if Obama actually believed that what the Warren and Burger courts of the '60s and '70s, which gave us so many landmark decisions (nicely detailed by Glenn), were activist courts going against the will of the people, Congress and the framers of the Constitution, or if Obama was simply calling out movement conservatives who on the Rehnquist and Roberts courts are doing what liberals would call activism (e.g., the Citizens United decision about allowing unlimited political contributions by corporations, giving them equal status as persons under the law).
I think judicial activism is to be expected when justices are appointed by the executive branch. No president wants to put a judge on the SCOTUS who does not reflect his/her particular ideological bent. John Paul Stevens, retiring this year, was appointed by a Republican president, but he is seen as the patriarch of liberalism on the court. That didn't go well for the GOP now, did it? So getting all worked up when the court, now comprised of a majority appointed by movement conservative presidents, exercises movement conservative jurisprudence seems a waste of time. Supreme Court decisions can be invalidated by legislation. Electing presidents who do not reflect the court's bias is also a good idea, particularly when justices get old (Reagan appointee Scalia is probably going to be the first of the wingnuts to go, but he wouldn't dare leave during a Democratic administration. One can only hope that God's wonderful timing and sense of irony show up).
Glenn continues at the bottom of his piece with an update (with no relevant link) about an article which contains an unattributed quote saying reporters privately accuse the Obama team of being less transparent than they promised when campaigning for office. Glenn complains that journalists ought not to make such comments in private, but in public, if they want to call themselves journalists. True dat. Isn't that their job, to call out those in authority? But not in this real world, when access to power trumps getting at the truth.