Utah Senate Republicans Favor Judicial Activism

Correct me if I’m wrong. But isn’t it conservatives, including many Utah conservatives, who tend to complain about “judicial activism,” and refer to supposedly overreaching judges as “legislating from the bench?”

Isn’t it many of these same conservatives in the Utah senate (and sadly in the governor’s office) who now refuse to take responsibility for the legislative mess they’ve created over school vouchers, preferring to let the Utah state court sort things out?

Kudos to Republicans like Representative Urquhart, sponsor of the original voucher bill, for favoring a special session to repeal the original voucher bills and produce a new unified voucher bill which would be officially suspended until after the referendum and bound to the results of that referendum. While I strongly disagree with Urquhart’s position on vouchers, I appreciate his respect for the integrity of the democratic process.

4 Responses to “Utah Senate Republicans Favor Judicial Activism”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    Well said.

    I thought it was a little ironic that Republicans were looking to the courts for help in slipping this issue out of the hands of the voting public as well.

  2. Thom Says:

    Oh, how soon you forget. The “activist judges” rallying cry started in December, 2000. You may recall the event, if you reflect a bit. It was the US Supreme Court decision handing George W. Bush the presidency. But Republicans, always one to take a good idea when they get whipped with it, have now adopted the cry to describe my (my) Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (among others).

    Thanks for calling out this hypocrisy. I’ve decided that the definition of “Activist Judge” is “one who reaches a different conclusion than I did” (or possibly, “than the talking heads in my party of choice did”). They’re judges, for crying out loud; they’re supposed to be interpreting the law.

  3. The Senate Site Says:

    Believe me, the irony was not lost on us.

  4. Derek Staffanson Says:

    Thom, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. Judicial Activism has been a peeve of the Right for years, many prior to 2000. Prayer in schools and school or civic events, Roe vs. Wade and abortion decisions generally, rulings about the separation of Church and State; conservatives have been complaining about “undue” judicial influence in those areas since before you and I were born.

    Nor do I recall many Democrats labeling the Supreme Court decision on the 2000 election “judicial activism.” The Democrats themselves were seeking court action. They objected to the fact that the Court seemed to make the decision based on political rather than legal criteria, but not that the Court was involved.

    I’m curious if the commentor from the Senate Republicans would like to explain why, if the Senate Republican’s recognize the “irony” (or rather, hypocrisy) of their decision, they chose their course rather than pursue the morally consistent course described by Representative Urquhart? What could it possibly hurt to permit the public to make a decision on the use of vouchers at all?

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