Philadelphia Inquirer: Posted on Mon, Mar. 27, 2006

Judicial Activism

Contrary to the suggestion of your editorial ("Unbalanced criticism," March 21), there is nothing undemocratic or dangerous about criticizing the judiciary. Our government's "checks and balances" do depend on judicial independence from the legislative and executive branches. But the judiciary is still part of government, which derives its authority from the consent of the governed.

In other words, the judiciary is not independent of the citizens. But the judiciary is generally the least accountable branch of government. This has become increasingly problematic with the rise of judicial activism.

We hope that judges will exercise restraint, but many have employed their judicial powers to dictate morals, ignore constitutional constraints, and selectively interpret laws to, in effect, "legislate from the bench."

The people must always stand ready to restrain their government, and the judiciary is no exception.

David Bookstaber