Sunday, April 17, 2005

When judicial activism comes in handy

Most Americans like to downplay the importance of the ideological gulf separating authoritarians from classical liberals. At the end of the day, we all want the same things, don't we? It's the little things that lead to squabbles, right?

Wrong. Trying reading the New York Times, or Salon, or The New Yorker -- and you'll remember that half the country sees practically eye to knee with you. (For lack of a better expression.)

Take this NY Times investigative piece on the so-called "Constitution in Exile" movement. Look out, America! While your children lie asleep in their beds, grim-faced men in double-breasted suits are plotting to dismantle environmental protections, minimum-wage laws, and everything else we compassionate Times readers hold dear.

The mastermind of this sinister plot? Chicago law professor Richard A. Epstein.

Most interesting about "Constitution in Exile" reasoning is the acceptance of -- and unabashed reliance on -- activist judges. Most conservatives, on principle, oppose legislation from the bench. I always thought that libertarians did the same. But it turns out their beef was with the decisionmaking, not with the method.

Proponents of big government are hell-bent on changing the character of American social and economic life through legal decisions. It's time to fight fire with fire, say Epstein et al. Sounds good to me.


marco said...

David Bernstein has two great responses here and here.

Clara said...

Tom Palmer wants to know: What's up with the unflattering photos?