judicial activism

Ryszard Legutko’s Critique of Western Liberalism

For quite some time now, American intellectuals have taken a particular interest in Poland. During the Cold War, the Polish people's resistance to communism was held up as an example of fidelity, and Pope John Paul II's leadership of the Church was taken to be a quintessential example of the Polish spirit. The honeymoon is [...]

The Accidental Justice

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s tenure on the Supreme Court was filled with irony. Had it not been for the smear campaign that defeated Judge Robert Bork’s nomination and the withdrawal of Judge Douglas Ginsburg’s nomination because of past drug use, Kennedy never would have risen to the judicial power he used with such gusto. Sadly less [...]

Three Things America Needs from the New Supreme Court Justice

Justice Anthony Kennedy has just announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. Everyone is talking about who will be his replacement. Much is at stake. For the liberals, it could spell the end to the precarious situation in which Kennedy’s swing vote has brought them many major victories and some small defeats. For the conservatives, [...]

Religious Liberty Thwarted by Canadian High Court Decision

I should apologize for more bad news from Canada (and more to come with the recent legalization of marijuana), but it comes with a tinge of hope: last Friday, Trinity Western University, a Christian university in Langley, British Columbia, was denied the right to offer law degrees by the Supreme Court of Canada, due to [...]

Justice Kennedy Enshrines into Law the Infamous Legacy of JFK

As Catholics, we want to be treated fairly and we certainly need the freedom to live our faith outside of our mind, our home and our church buildings. What progressives seem to presume is that we want an advantage over other faiths and ideologies. This is not the case. We believe that non-Catholic Christians, Buddhists, [...]

In England, the Child is the “Mere Creature of the State”

In the case of the now-deceased toddler, Alfie Evans, the British government, through its Royal College of Pediatrics and its courts, had legal authority. Alfie had legal “interests,” which the government defined in his case, but he did not have any “rights.” Alfie’s parents only had a right to be heard; they had no substantive rights [...]

Waste Land: Britain’s Culture of Death

April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land… April 23 is St. George’s Day, the national feast day of England. On April 23, 2018 three events occurred. Ealing Council in west London became the first English Local Authority to implement a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for the area around a [...]

Is There a Right to be Left Alone?

With respect to social/moral issues, contemporary liberalism or progressivism is flourishing in certain states, among which are California and Colorado. And under this “new federalism,” the direct governmental attempt to coerce individuals is prominent. But the Supreme Court, as set out below, has largely resisted attempts to curtail individual religious and moral liberty. And two [...]

A Jesuit Philosopher Who Championed Catholic Orthodoxy

Fun Is Not Enough (2017) is the collection of all 125 columns written by the late Father Francis Canavan, S.J., for the monthly catholic eye from April 1983 until November 2008, a couple of months before his death. The book was edited by Dr. Dawn Eden Goldstein, Assistant Professor of Dogmatic Theology at Holy Apostles College [...]

A California Judge Protects the Wedding Baker

In the summer of 2016, Cathy Miller, the owner of Tastries Bakery in California, was faced with a difficult decision. As part of its business, Tastries makes wedding cakes, and for the first time, a same-sex couple came in and asked for a wedding cake. Cathy, however, is a devout Christian. As a result, she [...]

How Judges Become Tyrants

Among the three branches of American government, there is supposed to be a system of checks and balances to curb any abuse of power. That is at least the theory. In practice, the judicial branch is now engaged in a campaign of checks without balances or precedent. Judges are becoming tyrants without restraint. It is [...]

The Tyranny of Tolerance

When the Supreme Court re-defined marriage in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision to include same-sex relationships, it was immediately clear that this sea change would create a conflict between this newly-discovered constitutional right, and the first freedom listed in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights: the right of religious liberty. Everyone from pundits [...]

Will the Court Overturn Bad Precedents?

In his recent book, Nixon’s White House Wars, Patrick J. Buchanan writes about how most of Richard Nixon’s Supreme Court nominees—Buchanan was an aide to Nixon—did not turn out to be the “judicial restraintists” that the thirty-seventh president had hoped for. Buchanan says that has been a problem for Republican presidents generally. From Nixon up [...]

Can Religious Symbols Be Tolerated on Public Lands?

Is a long-standing commemorative cross on public land socially divisive and a governmental endorsement of religion? Or, to the contrary, is a constitutional challenge to that cross an act of gratuitous social divisiveness? Last week, in American Humanist Association v. Maryland, the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling of the federal district court of [...]

The Many Assaults on the Rule of Law

A central principle of the American Founding—in fact, one that great thinkers have held as central for any democratic republic—is the rule of law. We often hear the phrase that we are a nation in which “the rule of law and not of men” prevails. This is another way of saying that law—applicable equally to [...]

Sex, Sanity, and Beliefs that “Live Loudly” Within Us

“I do not know any country where, in general, less independence of mind and genuine freedom of discussion reign than in America.”  ∼ Tocqueville, Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville was the great French chronicler of the early United States.  Nearly 200 years ago, he spotted a basic tension in our national character. It’s this:  Americans place [...]

Senate Democrats Show Intolerance for Catholic Judges

Just two months after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) declared a nominee to federal office to be unfit for daring to hold the personal belief that Jesus Christ is necessary to salvation (which was discussed at Crisis by your faithful correspondent here), a fresh controversy has arisen in the hearing chambers of the capitol. This time, [...]

The Charlie Gard Case Portends a Frightening Future

The case of Charlie Gard, the British baby afflicted with the rare mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome who a London hospital would not discharge to his parents so they could take him to the U.S. for experimental treatment, brought together a number of increasingly portentous trends and realities that have come to define our age. The [...]

Liberal Myths Have Consequences

“Contemporary liberalism is less a political philosophy than a façade for undermining extant social and legal mores.”   ∼ John Safranek, The Myth of Liberalism, 2015. When I first looked into this insightful book of John Safranek titled The Myth of Liberalism, I was struck by the introductory sentence that he cited from Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. [...]

Obergefell and the Apotheosis of Judicial Will

With the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, many social conservatives breathed a sigh of relief. From what we know of his record, Justice Gorsuch does seem to be a worthy successor to Justice Antonin Scalia. Even if Gorsuch is somewhat less distinguished as a legal mind than Scalia, he is clearly [...]

How to Avoid Judicial Tyranny

The Founding Fathers envisioned the Supreme Court of the United States as an apolitical branch of government, co-equal to the others but devoid of any partisanship or politicking. Alexander Hamilton wrote that judges in the new American system would have “neither force nor will, but merely judgment.” The question of confirming a justice to the [...]

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