Judicial activism vs. judicial restraint is two terms that describe the judicial branch of government. They refer to how judges feel about their role in society and what they believe is acceptable from a judicial standpoint. There is a lot of debate surrounding judicial activism and judicial restraint, and many are unsure of the differences between the two concepts and their implications for society.

What Is Judicial Activism

Judicial activism means when judges make decisions beyond their authority or power to make an impactful change that alters society even though it’s not within their job description.

Judicial Activism Examples

Examples of judicial activism are the Supreme Court cases Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that women have a constitutional right to abortion access. In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Pros And Cons Of Judicial Activism

On the one hand, judicial activism can be seen as a way of ensuring that the voices of the people are heard, particularly in cases where the government is doing something unconstitutional or illegal. On the other hand, judicial activism can be seen as a way of overstepping the bounds of the law and, as a result, subverting democracy.

What is Judicial Restraint

Judicial Restraint is a philosophy that calls for limited interference from the judiciary in public policy. In other words, judicial restraint is the principle that courts should not intervene in the legislative or executive branch unless necessary. It is based on the idea that the judiciary should play a limited role in government to protect the other departments from judicial overreach.

Judicial Restraint Examples

Judicial Restraint helps preserve a balance among the judiciary, executive, and legislative branches of government.

  • Enables courts by and large to concede to interpretations of the constitution by congress or some other established body.
  • Encourages the court to review an existing law instead of modifying it.
  • Allows courts to state legislature and upload acts of congress unless they violate the constitution.

Judicial Restraint Pros And Cons

Judicial restraint is significant because there needs to be a limit to how much power one individual has over another person, especially if those people were put into place through democratic means such as elections.

Judicial restraint sometimes causes problems when judges are elected by popular vote of fellow citizens instead of appointed, and this causes judicial rulings which go against public opinion.

Comparing Judicial Activism To Judicial Restraint

The first significant difference between judicial activism and judicial restraint is their respective philosophies. Judicial activists believe that it is appropriate for judges to take an active role in shaping society. In contrast, those who subscribe to judicial restraint believe that judges should limit their interference in public policy.

Another key difference between these two concepts is their approach to constitutional interpretation. Judicial activists are more likely to interpret the Constitution broadly, while those who favor judicial restraint tend to interpret it more narrowly.

Finally, judicial activists are often more willing to overrule precedent than those who favor judicial restraint. This means that judicial activists are more likely to overturn established case law, while judicial restraint advocates believe in following past decisions.

Justicial Activism Vs. Judicial Restraint Examples

Judicial activists are also more likely to strike down laws that they deem to be unconstitutional. In contrast, judicial restraint advocates typically give more deference to the legislature regarding judicial review.

The recent Supreme Court case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, has sparked a conversation about judicial activism vs. judicial restraint which is vital to many people in the United States today.

Final Word

These are just a few critical differences between judicial activism and judicial restraint. As you can see, each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. It is up to each judge to decide which philosophy they want to subscribe to,

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