Just as I was starting to think that the WSJ was shedding a bit of its conservative bias, Peter Lattman writes this. He writes a short post that glorifies the suddenly clear-cut message that the Roberts Court is sending to lower courts. In Lattman’s opinion:
[I]n case after case, the court shifted toward what Chief Justice Roberts has previously referred to as “judicial self-restraint.” “As it addressed issues large and small, in civil disputes and criminal justice alike, the court’s resurgent conservative bloc repeatedly found that the question didn’t belong before a judge at all,” writes Bravin. Its disdain for “judicial activism” — courts making decisions they believe are best left to an elected executive, a legislature or the free market — may mark a diminished role for a federal judiciary.
Absolutely outrageous. I think there is value in what Chief Justice Roberts said he wanted to do, but his actual jurisprudence has not proven to be as a lofty. I would hardly call the court’s ruling in Carhart to be one that ‘found the question didn’t belong before a judge at all.’ Granted, the Court did grant a lot of power to local communities, but it also took a lot of power away. In Morse, the court affirmed a school district’s interest in a cohesive anti-drug policy on a very narrow concurring opinion by Justice Alito, but in Parents Involved, the court took away a desegregation policy that the local community had deemed to be appropriate. The court’s decision to strike down a 96-year old anti-trust law can hardly be considered a show of ‘judicial self-restraint.’ Peter Lattman either sees what he wants to see or is simply lying for the sake of it, but regardless, please don’t ever let someone tell you that the Roberts Court of 2006 rejected the pejorative notion of ‘judicial activism’. If anything, they embraced it on a level not seen in years.
Update (6:50pm): The problem is even worse than I originally feared. I don’t care about Peter Lattman’s blog anymore- the front page of the WSJ has an article that essentially says the same thing in three times as many words. Awesome.