judicial activism

Kids in Defense of the Culture

The shock troops against Conservatism, Inc. have arrived. Witness the rise of the groypers. These cowboys sent people ducking beneath barstools the moment they set a spurred boot in the Culture War saloon. It has been amusing, to say the least, but not everyone is laughing. Some have even warned that the pale rider of [...]

Is American Law Still Concerned with Justice?

Recent news stories make one wonder if our legal system is abandoning our traditional Anglo-American principles of justice and instead becoming increasingly unreasonable, unprincipled, and allowing itself to become a tool for furthering political bias, revenge-seeking, and “making examples.” We can start off with the spectacle of the two-year-long investigation of the 2016 Trump presidential [...]

Abortion: A Choice Like No Other

The June 21 decision by an English Court of Protection judge to order a Nigerian woman, in the fifth month of pregnancy, to have an abortion against her own and her family’s wills, stirred criticism. A three-judge Court of Appeal overturned the decision June 24. Apart from the barbarism of forced abortion—hitherto the preference of totalitarian [...]

The Liberal Religion

Some time ago I argued in a magazine column that liberalism has developed in recent decades from a rigidly secular political philosophy into a this-worldly religion with its own more or less developed though unsystematic dogma based on faith and a reciprocal concept of heresy, its own unwritten creed and sacramental system, a loose rhetorical [...]

Ginsburg’s “Neutrality” over Religious Liberty

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (joined by Justice Sotomayor) wrote the dissenting opinion in last week’s Supreme Court decision upholding the presence of Bladensburg’s Peace Cross on public land. The Court, fractured about the basis for its ruling, nevertheless managed to cobble together a 7-2 split (with Justices Breyer and Kagan as part of [...]

A Crisis of Both Justice and Civic Friendship

Even though the Mueller report seemed to bring an end to the long investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign for something that is not even a federal crime—collusion—the left can’t seem to let it go. Even though they expressed full confidence in Mueller as the investigation went on, they suddenly began to question his credibility [...]

Truth and Integrity Are Under Assault

If anything becomes clear as we consider the current raging questions on the American scene, it is that concern for truth is readily cast aside. While falsehood and deceit, to be sure, are nothing new in human history—they began when Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves from God after their sin—it’s fair to say [...]

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 [...]

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