Judicial Activism

Topics: Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Plessy v. Ferguson, American Civil War Pages: 1 (282 words) Published: April 25, 2005
Judicial Activism vs. Judicial Self-Restraint
There are many differences between Judicial Activism and Judicial Self Restraint. Judicial Activism is the process by which judges take an active role in the governing process and Judicial Self Restraint is that Judges should not read their own philosophies into the constitution. Judicial activism is the view that the Supreme Court should be an active and creative partner with the legislative and executive branches in help shaping the government policy (Wasserman American Politics 138). The believers of this philosophical view of how our judicial branch suggests that the Supreme Court is more active and participates in molding the policies of American society. It can be argued that during the end of the Civil War and the "Separate but Equal" era, in cases such as the Brown v. Board of Education, Baker v. Carr, Missouri ex. Rel. Gaines v. Canada, and Sweatt v. Painter. The more recent, Bush v. Gore case is a good example of judicial activism. Judicial Restraint is the idea that the Court should not place its views on other branches of the government or the states unless there is a clear violation of the Constitution (Wasserman American Politics 138). Judges, who believe in this form of our court system, say that a passive role of the court is preferred and that the other branches of the government should pave the way for policy and civil case changes. Throughout our history cases, such as Dred Scott v. Sandford and Plessy v. Ferguson, are also good examples of judicial restraint. The debate between judicial activism and judicial restraint began in the early days of the United States and still continues through the present.
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