In a recent interview with USA Today, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took a shot at her conservative colleagues, tarring them with the brush of judicial activism:
"The court has the reputation of being conservative, but if you take activism to mean readiness to strike down laws passed by Congress, I think the current court will go down in history as one of the most active courts in that regard," she tells USA TODAY in a rare interview.
On the one hand, she has a point. The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has indeed voided a number of duly-enacted congressional statutes over liberal dissents, such as the campaign finance restrictions sent to history's dustbin in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. But of course Ginsburg and her fellow liberals have also done their share of active judging against the will of Congress, most recently in the case of United States v. Windsor, where they struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which passed Congress by wide margins and with large amounts of Democratic support. Doesn't that make her a judicial activist, too?
Perhaps it would be best to stop pretending that deference to Congress was a worthy judicial goal, and instead focus on making the best constitutional arguments in each case.