Sunday, January 24, 2010

Activist Judges

Remember the outcries during the Bush administration about activist judges? That was the charge leveled at and label put on any judicial entity that didn't support the then president's ideological trajectory.

It was an extension of the mindset that said if you didn't support invading Iraq, the use of torture, wire-tapping American civilians and the right of the government to have access to any person's most private information, well, then, you aren't patriotic and you are "with" the terrorists.

Isn't it interesting now that the Robert's Supreme Court seems to have taken up the role of being an activist judiciary?

Most recently, the case of "Hillary, The Movie" gave the Robert's court the venue to ignore stare desisis (Latin for "to stand by things decided") and rule not on the case at hand, but on the broader principle of "freedom of speech." In essence, as a result of this 5-4 Supreme Court decision, corporations can't be restricted from direct, unlimited financial involvement in political campaigns. That's a long way from ruling on whether a corprate-funded movie -- created specifically to disuade support for a single candidate for president -- can legally be an exception to the McCain-Feingold Finance Reform Act.

I'm sure the good and bad of this will be argued until the inkwells run dry, but it strikes me as a bit discouraging that a company like Exxon-Mobile, one that set all time profit records during a time when we were paying over $4.00 a gallon for gasoline, now has the freedom to flood all the advertising channels with their perspective on an issue, forcing out, by sheer volume of money, the voice of any opposition, regardless of the facts or truths involved?

Many of you fear big-government control. Have you thought about the downside of big-corporation control -- where the need to dominate all markets and make even more money is the only driving force? When was the last time you had a voice in how Exxon-Mobile makes decisions? At least if we fear big government, we can still "throw the scoundrels out!"

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