Cynthia Tucker has an article in the Baltimore Sun on what the Religious Right mean when they complain about those “activist judges” and what they aim to do about it:
Ultraconservatives want you to believe the term “activist judge” applies to a group of determined liberals whose rulings have overturned historic precedent, undermined morality and defied common sense. But the controversy that erupted around Mrs. Schiavo, who died Thursday, ought to remind us once and for all what “activist judge” really means: one whose rulings dissatisfy a right-wing political constituency.
You’ll soon hear the term “activist judge” often as President Bush nominates justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. The president could end up appointing as many as four.
With so many likely vacancies, ultraconservatives see an opportunity to drive from the bench any semblance of fealty to the law or the U.S. Constitution. They claim that judges have become the tool of an outlandish liberal fringe that has violated the graves of the Founding Fathers. When right-wing talk-show hosts and U.S. senators denounce judicial activism, they conjure up images of jurists who terrorize the God-fearing, coddle criminals and would outlaw the Bible.
The next time you hear those claims, think of Judge Greer. He is among the targets of ultraconservative ire. For that matter, think of the Supreme Court – hardly a bastion of liberalism. Its justices declined to intervene in the Schiavo case because they could find no legitimate reason to do so.
Something I didn’t know previously that I learned in this column was the fact that Judge Greer’s decision was so unpopular with his Southern Baptist church’s pastor that he was “deinvited” from attending services. Apparently his pastor felt that Judge Greer should have decided not to uphold the law as is his sworn duty and instead base his decision on what the church says is right. Getting judges who will do that into place is going to be the goal of the far right over the next few years.