'Activist' judges

Monday, June 14, 2004

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

When politicians lose in court they like to fault "activist" judges. Last weekend, Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt joined the ranks of sore losers. ... The gubernatorial hopeful blamed activist judges for the Missouri Supreme Court decision requiring him to put the gay marriage amendment on the August ballot. Never mind that Judges Duane Benton and William Ray Price Jr., card-carrying Republicans, were part of the 6-1 majority.

In fact, the court's decision was moderate and grounded in the law. It said Blunt had been right when he maintained he couldn't put the marriage initiative on the ballot until he received a signed copy from the legislature. But the court said Blunt was wrong when he tried to frustrate the governor's constitutional prerogative to choose the August ballot over the November election.

Blunt doesn't seem to recognize the irony that its abortion position is an invitation for activist judges to change the meaning of the Constitution. Apparently, judicial activism is like beauty. It lies in the eye of the beholder.

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