The Activist Judiciary

Martin Leatherman,

With Representative Tom DeLay calling for the dismantling and rearranging of the courts, and three contentious federal judicial nominations up for confirmation, judicial activism is again in the spotlight. The conflict has its roots in the 1803 Supreme Court case Marbury v Madison, in which Justice John Marshall established the power of judicial review for American jurists. His ruling enables the courts to overturn legislation that is deemed contrary to the Constitution, a precedent that solidified the role of the judiciary as a separate but equal entity in federal government. Now, Republican members of Congress, saying that the courts have exceeded their mandate, have begun to push for more control. According to the Associated Press, DeLay has been investigating several ways of doing this.