Dean Davidson’s (The Charlotte Observer) Forum call on 7/16/09 for no “activists judges” seems to indicate a preference for the U.S. Supreme Court which in 1857 sided with slave Dred Scott’s owners, ordering him returned to slavery and ruling blacks could not be citizens of the United States and had no property rights within any of the individual states. Or perhaps Mr. Davidson prefers the High Court which in 1896 blessed and ushered in 60 additional years of segregationist “Jim Crow” laws across the south by ruling in Plessy v Ferguson that Louisiana could segregate blacks and whites on public transportation.
The 20th Century judges who have struck down such segregationist laws, including segregated schools in this country, would not satisfy Mr. Davidson’s call to follow the “letter of the U.S. Constitution.”
Judges are often the minority’s only refuge from the tyranny of the majority. Judicial ‘activism” is then required to insure that justice reigns over temporary political and social fashion.
The term “activist’ as applied to judges has become prominent in the wake of judicial attempts to remove the last vestiges of racial, sexist, economic and religious oppression in our great nation.
It is their duty to do so, no matter what local, state or national legislative act would do otherwise.