Judicial activism is being used when court rulings are based on what is surmised to be purely political or personal reasoning. Basically, it allows judges to intertwine their own personal feelings into a conviction or sentence, rather abiding by existing laws. This way of personally interpreting the law has been a subject of heated debates in the US, especially with a lot of cases popping up. Somehow, like every judicial case, it has a foundation of activism in it, so it is important to weigh down its pros and cons to be able to determine appropriate courses of action to be carried out.
List of Pros of Judicial Activism
1. It provides a system of checks and balances to the other branches of the government.
Considering that politics commonly has a significant part in almost all branches of the government, it makes sense that it would function similarly in the judicial system as well. However, instead of being conservative or liberal, labels such as “literalist” and “progressive interpretation” are being used. Judicial politics is created by the way judges view the law and how it must be interpreted.
2. It allows for people to vote judges off the bench.
A lot of local judges are elected to their seats, which entails that if they rule through which people would consistently disagree, they can be voted off during the next cycle. However, some judges may serve up to more than 10 years on a single cycle, which means that this pro has some limitations to it.
3. It can provide some helpful insights.
Keep in mind that there are many sensitive issues needed to be handled with a certain amount of care that is not allowed by certain laws. This is where judicial activism comes in handy, allowing judges to use their personal judgment in situations where the law would fail.
List of Cons of Judicial Activism
1. It could be influenced by personal affairs.
When judicial activism is practiced, it is often observed to be done for solely personal reasons, such when compensation or politics is involved. Most of the time, the law would be overruled due to personal objection. Also, this judicial method has become predictable, as people simply already know about the one who will be giving out the rulings.
2. It can place rulings that would eventually become final.
The practice is even a more profound subject for those serving in the Supreme Court, as the rulings they make would generally stand or become a standard, with the power to have the final say on matters.
3. It sees the letter of politics and law as separate issues.
Though the aspects of political understanding of the law and its direct interpretation often come together in judicial activism, they can also be very far apart. In some cases, judges can literally override any law simply because they feel like it and can even set aside the jury’s verdict under certain circumstances.
The pros and cons listed above indicate that when judicial activism is implemented correctly, it can properly check and balance existing laws. However, it can also prone to abuse based on the personal preference of a judge. Now, with all this information, you will be able to decide whether or not we should put our trust in this practice.