September 30, 2005



More than half of Americans are angry and disappointed with the nation’s judiciary, a new survey done for the ABA Journal eReport shows.

A majority of the survey respondents agreed with statements that "judicial activism" has reached the crisis stage, and that judges who ignore voters’ values should be impeached. Nearly half agreed with a congressman who said judges are "arrogant, out-of-control and unaccountable."

The survey results surprised some legal experts with the extent of dissatisfaction shown toward the judiciary. "These are surprisingly large numbers," says Mark V. Tushnet, a constitutional law professor at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

"These results are simply scary," adds Charles G. Geyh, a constitutional law professor at Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington.

Meanwhile, Judiciary Committee Democrats just spent the entire Roberts hearings demanding that he find it in his heart to be a judicial activist and 22 Senators, all Democrats, voted against him after not receiving assurances he would be an activist. And they can't figure out why they're out of power?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 30, 2005 2:59 PM

The result doesn't tell you anything unless it reveals more about the responder and who exactly they think are the "activists." It's become quite the talking point among liberals that the conservatives are the real activists in the judiciary (it was talked about length on NPR just this morning).

Posted by: b at September 30, 2005 3:08 PM

No need to beat aroung the bush here.(har, har.) When the average person complains about "activist judges," he means baby-murdering, bible-banning, sodomite-protecting judges. When polls show that some percentage of respondents dissapprove of the direction of the country, much of that disapproval is so directed.

To say that undoing attempts at social transformation is "judicial activism" is a kind of social Brezhnev doctrine, whereby the left tries to say that once they have advanced their agenda we must take not one step back.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 30, 2005 3:37 PM

Let's see. A judge declares the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional one more time and people are unhappy. That is not a surprise. Law professors are amazed that people are unhappy. That is not a surprise either.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 30, 2005 3:55 PM

Kill all the lawyers - William Shakespeare.

Posted by: AWW at September 30, 2005 4:03 PM

Or teach them to do politics a little bit better. The judiciary's been remade into the most important branch of government, and nobody should be surprised when the people expect it to be responsive to them. In fact nobody really is surprised, except for constitutional law professors.

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 30, 2005 4:18 PM

AWW, I haven't read that play lately, but I think your're out of context. Lou is right, and as I recall the folks who wanted to kill the lawyers were against the rule of law,and wanted to rule outside the law., but I could be wrong.

Posted by: jdkelly at September 30, 2005 6:01 PM

JD: You are correct. Our problem is that it is the lawyers and their accomplices in black robes who want to rule outside the law now.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 30, 2005 8:50 PM

Robert, I'm lawyer and agree totally.

Posted by: jdkelly at September 30, 2005 8:59 PM

People reacted to many of the Warren Court's decisions the same way - but because much of the nation voted Democratic (reflexively), they didn't think for a moment how to change the situation. It's different now.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 1, 2005 10:16 AM