The Judicial Branch of the U. S. government was created according to the mandates of Article III of the Constitution. The chief duties of the Judicial Branch are to enforce the laws created by the Legislative Branch and ensure those laws are in line with the Constitution. At the onset, the powers of the Judicial Branch were limited (History.com Editors, 2017).In 1803, the monumental case Marbury v. Madison established what is known as judicial review for the Supreme Court, which allows the Court to render a law unconstitutional (null and void) if it is found to be in conflict with the Constitution (Harr, Hess, Orthmann & Kingbury, 2017). Over the years, judicial review has come into question because courts have been known to rule in ways that are considered “judicial abdication” (Lee, 2013). Terms such as judicial activism and judicial restraint have been coined to characterize the rulings made by the courts. The purpose of this paper is to define judicial activism and judicial restraint, describe the appropriate lens for judges to examine the constitution and to justify advocacy for the position of judicial activism or judicial restraint.
Judicial Activism and Restraint
When looking at the words “activism” and “restraint”, one would take them at face value and define the words as they are presented. According to Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary (2010), the definition of activism is “the practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, as by demonstrations, protests, etc.”. People who march and demonstrate are said to be practicing activism. The same dictionary(2010) defines restraint as “constraint or reserve, as in behavior. A person who practices restraint is said to be reserved or in control of their behavior”. However, the immediate definitions would