by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Those with a right-of-center political perspective tend to hold one of two contrasting views about the role of the courts.
Some think judges ought to defer as much as possible to the elected branches of government, stepping in to declare a law unconstitutional only if it clearly violates a provision spelled out in the Constitution. Others counter that the Constitution is designed to protect individual rights, and courts should be active in striking down laws that violate rights — even when those rights aren’t clearly defined in the Constitution’s text.
It’s often described as a debate between judicial activism or engagement and judicial restraint. Damon Root, senior editor at Reason magazine, documents the contrasting views in his book Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Root discussed the book during a lunchtime presentation for the Triangle Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. Click play below to watch the 55-minute event.