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The Constitution and Religion – A judge’s point of view

December 30th, 2005

I’ve often thought what it would be like to be a judge. Using wisdom to discern what is right and wrong, legal and illegal. I respect judges as I believe that have a very tough job, and little praise is given for a good one. I’ve also thought about this phenomenon we call “judicial activism”, being defined as imposing one’s personal beliefs ahead of the written law. Many conservatives are very outspoken about activist judges, but I wonder if as many conservatives actually know the law. You see, it concerns me when a conservative labels a ruling as judicial activism merely because such ruling goes against a religious belief or principle. For this to be true in all cases, the Constitution would have to be the Bible. It is true that some things are legal even if they are anti-biblical. Adultery, for example, is not illegal.

What I think is interesting is to pose this question to a conservative: “If you were a judge and had to decide between written law and religious belief, what would you choose?” To my surprise, many would say “we must serve God before men…I would choose what was right in the eyes of God.” Guess what? You’re a judicial activist. “No I’m not!” Hmmm…

I think too many times judges who haved ruled in favor of gay marriage or abortion or gay rights or whatever, have been labeled as activist, when in fact they merely read the written law and made the decision they thought was best. The Terri Schaivo case was a great example. A judge was given the opportunity to hear the case and decide whether she was to live or die. The judge made a ruling based on the rule of law, and he was labeled as a killer, hater and activist. Maybe we should hold the lawmakers more accountable and give the law interpreters a break for a while.

Tyson Politics

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