Judicial Constituents: An Example Of Judicial Restraint

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Judicial restraint follows the rationale that judges should not affect policy as it stands, unless it can be proven to be unconstitutional or if it conflicts with other currently standing policies. This philosophy calls upon judges to rely more on the wording of the laws, the constitution and other documents and less on personal or public opinion. Judges interpret meanings, but cannot change what they have interpreted. The upside to this philosophy is that a judge is not able to inject his own prejudice into the mix. A judge must be impartial and his findings must be based on solid evidence. Because judges are not elected by the people and because they may have personal opinions that conflict with the people, judicial restraint serves as an equalizer and laws are left to Congress and the states to decide.…show more content…
Because a judge can only determine whether or not a law or ruling conflicts with the constitution, some laws are left to stand as is, when the majority of Americans would benefit from more specific wording or for the law to be struck down entirely. One such instance of restraint that would have benefited from a touch of activism was the ruling in the case of Gibbons v. Ogden. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the exact wording of the Commerce Clause of Article I, giving Congress complete power over anything to do with commerce that involves crossing state lines. In this decision, the courts left no room for argument, and have effectively given Congress free reign over most commercial activity, leaving individual states with no jurisdiction in a plethora of

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