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Judicial Activism and Constitutional Interpretation - Assignment Example

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The paper “Judicial Activism and Constitutional Interpretation” defines judicial activism, argues about the correct interpretation of the constitution and about the difference in philosophy between strict constructionists and those who believe in a living constitution. …
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Judicial Activism and Constitutional Interpretation
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Download file to see previous pages The United States of America has a checking system of judicial activism to ensure that it is minimal and public interests are mostly protected. According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, judicial activism is "the practice in the judiciary of protecting or expanding individual rights through decisions that depart from established precedent or are independent of or in opposition to supposed constitutional or legislative intent".
The supporters of judicial interpretations have different philosophies and the most debated among them are strict constructionists and those who believe in the living constitution.  A strict constructionist is one who believes that the words and phrases used in the law and constitution are static and hence there are limited instances of interpretations. U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts has been dubbed a "strict constructionist" -- someone who believes the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted exactly as its original authors intended” (Chadwick Alex).  The main outcome of this philosophy is that judgment is based on what is written in the law and not on what it should be. Some of the popular supporters of this argument include the Supreme Court of the United States Justice Hugo Black and former U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and Chief Justice of Australia, Owen Dixon. In contrast to the strict constructionism, living constitutionalists are of the view that the law words and phrases are not static and should be treated as living and dynamic and they must be interpreted in such a manner that they are useful for the changing societal needs. As opined by David Dieteman on a living constitution, it is “one of the most nefarious influences in the minds of Americans is the notion that the federal constitution of 1787 (the "U.S. Constitution") is a "living" document” (Dieteman David). Therefore, the words and phrases in the law and constitution framed by Congress do not mean the same thing at different time points.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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