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Judicial Restraint and Judicial Activism - Essay Example

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Date Judicial Activism Judicial activism and judicial restraint are two terms which are bandied about on both sides of the spectrum. Conservatives decry judicial activism. They state that judges should not make law, only interpret the law. However, this is hypocrisy, because conservatives do not seem to mind activism when it comes to issues that they believe in…
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Judicial Restraint and Judicial Activism
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Download file to see previous pages Below is another case of judicial activism, in which a school district had its policies overturned by the court. This should be considered to be activism, as the school district is not allowed by the court to pass policies for itself that would help remedy individual cases of discrimination. However, since this case cases involves reverse discrimination, this case would not be decried by the conservatives who typically decry judicial activism. A. Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, 551 U.S. 701 (2007). Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, 551 U.S. 701 (2007) is an equal protection case argued before the court in 2007. Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the opinion of the Court. This case dealt with two different school districts, the Seattle school district in Washington State and the Jefferson County school district in Louisville, Kentucky. Each school district used race as a way to assign students to their schools. The Seattle school district allowed ninth graders to choose the schools that they wanted to attend. If too many students wanted to attend a particular school, then that school used a series of tie-breakers to determine who would attend that school. One of the tie-breakers is the race of the student – in the Seattle school district, 41% of students overall are white, and 59% are non-white. If a particular school did not come within 10% of the 41/59 split – say a school was 60% white and 40% non-white – then race was used to fill the available slots at that particular school, so that it would be brought into balance. Seattle operates the school in this way to address the “racially identifiable housing patterns on school assignments.” Five different schools in the Seattle district used this method of assigning students to their schools, elevating racial characteristics above other merits. The Petitioner parents filed suit on behalf of their children who were denied a spot at the five schools because of their race. The Ninth Circuit Court of appeals decided in an en banc decision that this the school district presented a compelling state interest, achieving racial balance within schools, and that the school district's methods of achieving this racial balance was narrowly tailored, thus upholding the school district's method of apportioning students to these schools. Jefferson County Public Schools had a similar scheme. Their school district is composed of approximately 34 black students, and 66 percent white students. All non-magnet schools in the district were required to enroll a minimum 15 percent and maximum of 50 percent black students. If a certain school was not within this range, students would be denied a spot at that particular school based on that student's race. So, if a black student wanted to enroll in School A, and that school had already reached its 50 maximum of black students, that student would be denied a spot at that school. If a white student wanted to go to School B, and that school was less than 15% black, then that student would be denied a spot at that school. Petitioner Crystal Meredith sought to enroll her son at a school that was close to her house, but her son was denied a spot at that school because her son would have caused that school to be racially ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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