The judicial branch represents one third of our Constitutional Republic, a final check on the other two (Executive and Legislative). Many argue that the judicial branch has been engaged in “judicial activism”, a practice whereby judges make rulings based on their personal beliefs and opinions of a law, regulation or government practice rather than the law itself.
Although the argument could be made that judges should and do make rulings based on previous judicial precedent and interpretations, activism becomes apparent when two different judges make two completely different rulings, regarding the same issue.
This was the case regarding the NSA’s surveillance and intelligence gathering program(s). The NSA, in its efforts to keep us safe, maintain the position that our civil liberties must be surrendered. They collect billions of text messages, phone calls and emails, without cause or a warrant.
Last week, a federal judge ruled that such a practice was, “almost Orwellian” and “probably unconstitutional”. I would argue that anything “almost Orwellian” would be patently unconstitutional but I’m not a federal judge. I would further argue that bulk collection of millions of Americans phone calls just because maybe the government will thwart a terrorist act based off some information it may or may not review, is completely unconstitutional.
Anyway, this week a different federal judge (from NY) ruled the NSA’s program(s) were, “lawful” and “a counter punch to al Qaeda”. This ruling represents the complete opposite of the previous judges ruling. Citizens should ask themselves, “how can two different judges view the constitutionality of a law, regulation or surveillance program like the NSA’s so different?
Perhaps the question should be, “how long until the judicial branch is obsolete and just another partisan arm of either the executive or legislative branch”?