Month: November 2017

November 27, 2017

Judicial activism relates to those judicial rulings that are based on personal opinion instead of on a law that already exists. Many of the examples of judicial activism are actually quite controversial political issues, especially in the United States today. This is because the questions here are closely related to constitutional interpretation, statutory construction, and separation of powers.

Simply put, judicial activism is defined as one or more of these three actions:
Overturning laws because they’re unconstitutional
Overturning a judicial precedent
Ruling against a preferred interpretation of the constitution

There are 6 times when someone may consider a judge an activist. This includes:
Majoritarianism
Interpretive stability
Interpretive fidelity
Substance or democratic process
Availability of an alternate policymaker
Specificity of policy

Some Examples of Judicial Activism

Some of the most commonly accepted examples of judicial activism include:
Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 led to the desegregation of public schools by the Supreme Court
Roe v. Wade in 1973 led to the legalization of abortion by the Supreme Court
Bush v. Gore in the 2000 presidential election put an end to the recounting of ballots in Florida, leading to the election of Bush as president.
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010 led the Supreme Court to decide that Congress couldn’t limit corporate political spending as this was a form of free speech
Hollingsworth v. Perry in 2013 led federal judge Vaughn R. Walker to overturn California’s constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage
Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 led the Supreme Court to declare that same-sex marriage is a right people are guaranteed because of the Due Process Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment

Why Judicial Activism is Controversial

The phrase judicial activism was controversial since it was first introduced by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in January 1947. People considered this term blurry because Schlesinger didn’t explain what activism was nor did he say if it was good or bad. However, even before Schlesinger coined the term, the concept already existed. In fact, Thomas Jefferson talked about the Federalist federal judges’ “despotic behavior.”

Some argue that judicial activism usurps the power of people who are elected to serve the people in the various branches of government. This damages the processes of law and democracy. However, those who are in favor of judicial activism believe laws must change with the times. As such, the great debate over this isuse continues to rage.

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The discourse on human rights have come to include all sectors – from women’s rights to those encompassing the LGBTQI community. Identity politics have taken center stage in much of the discussions on anti-discrimination that countries are now following suit in helping provide a safe and accepting environment for all, regardless of gender. After all, it is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that no one should be discriminated on the basis of their gender. In the respective constitution and national laws of different countries, phrases such as “all should be treated equally in the eyes of the law” are specific provisions that are enforceable, and this includes the right to marry whomever a person chooses.

Same sex marriage is a controversial topics and LGBTQI activists have struggle for several years to achieve substantial gains. 25 countries, with Germany and Malta being the new additions, already have declared gay marriage as legal. More recently in May 2017, a landmark ruling of Taiwan’s supreme court voted in favor of gay marriage, legalizing same sex unions. This makes Taiwan the first Asian country to nationalize gay marriage legislation. Legislation with regard to gay marriages are much more difficult and challenging in Asia because of a level of conservatism, apart from strong religious and traditional values which commonly contradict with accepting relationships that are not heterosexual.

Gay Marriage Legislation in the United States

Like many countries in the world, activists in the United States have struggled long and hard to pass a law legalizing same sex unions. Their efforts came into fruition on 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriages, bypassing the 14 States who instated a ban on such unions.

Discussions on the recognition of gay marriages started in 1980s, along with the rise of the civil society movement. The main essence of this demand centers on equality and non-discrimination – conditions that are not present for those non-confirming to the man-woman categorization of gender.

Gay marriage legislation in the US, much like in many parts of the world, were sidetracked and considered non-priority. It was only through the insistence of pressure groups composed of LGBTQI activists and their supporters that the issue eventually gained traction. In a landmark decision in Iowa on 2009, the state’s supreme court ruled that denying gay couples their right to marry is an ultimate violation of the country’s constitution, which stipulates equality before the law. This progressive decision became a precedent for many states in the US when they eventually legalized same sex unions in their respective states.

Much opposition have been made against such efforts, usually from religious and conservative sectors of society. Arguments such as sexual misconduct, lasciviousness, concepts of a ‘broken family‘, and promiscuity were often brought up to deny the LGBTQI community recognition. However, evidence are also mounting up showing the relationship of gay couples in a different perspective – that of monogamy, mutual respect and commitment to each other. Bearing the #LoveWins tag, gay marriage legislation has been gaining ground not just in the US, but all over the world.

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Is abortion legal anywhere in the United States? The answer to this question is yes. Abortion laws are legal in the United States but they are restricted to varying degrees in different states. The manner in which the judicial interpretation of the U.S. Constitution does read currently follows the Supreme Court’s landmark decision made in 1973. The landmark decision was no other than the Roe v. Wade and it was the first major decision that did promote other companion decisions that was to follow.

Abortion laws and activism are two things that are tied together. The reason being that many activists don’t approve of these laws that are said to interfere with a woman’s personal rights as a woman. Some of the earliest of all anti abortion laws were created for one purpose and that was to help protect all women from getting abortions from untrained abortionists who preyed on them. The earliest records on abortions that were unregulated did occur as far back as the 1800’s and a number of deaths did happen as a result of them. It was because complications were caused from abortions that were both illegal and unsafe in description. The number of actual deaths from these bad abortions was hard to determine. However, by the end of the 19th century, abortion did become something that was criminalized.

It is because of these anti abortion laws that activism for abortion was born. Abortion laws do vary in definition from permitting to prohibiting to restricting or regulating abortion’s availability. Abortion is without a doubt one of the most controversial of all topics. The reason being is that many people are against it and some are for it. It is why abortion laws and activism do share a connection that is unbreakable. You have activists that fight against abortion and others that fight for it. As was previously stated here, abortion became a controversial issue over the course of time for many reasons, and some of these reasons are as follows. It is because many societies have made it history through religion, morals, ethics, practical, and political grounds.

Abortion laws are different from state to state in the United States and viewed different as well in other foreign countries. Nevertheless, despite this fact, abortion is steadily on a decline worldwide. It is because of one thing and that is the increased access for many to contraception to use when engaging in sexual acts. About almost two-thirds of the women that live in the world do reside in countries where abortion can be done for a number of various reasons. Some of these reasons are to do with social, economic, or for their own personal reasons. Abortion has been around since ancient times. Abortion laws were created for different purposes with regards to abortion as a rule. Some abortion laws have placed restrictions on the practice of it. However, while on the flip side, other abortion laws permit abortion in certain places and for particular reasons in addition.

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Assisted suicide occurs when a person commits suicide with help from another person, such as a doctor. As such, this term is oftentimes used interchangeably with the term “physician assisted suicide” (PAS). PAS involves a doctor knowingly and intentionally helping a person commit suicide by providing them with counseling about drugs’ lethal dosages, prescribing these legal doses, and supplying the drugs.

Assisted suicide is now legal in Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. There are also 6 states in the United States in which assisted suicide is legal. These states include California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. A great debate wages around this topic throughout the rest of the United States and the world today.

Arguments for and Against Assisted Suicide

  • Many people have formulated arguments in support of assisted suicide. These arguments include:
  • Reducing a terminally ill person’s (having less than 6 months left to live) suffering by allowing them to embrace a timely, dignified death
  • The European Declaration of Human Rights grants people the right not to suffer

  • Doctors shouldn’t prolong life when the person is clearly suffering and in pain
  • We shouldn’t interfere with nature when someone is dying
  • This is compassionate care that shows respect for patients who want to die with dignity
  • Healthcare is really expensive and unaffordable for some people since drugs for assisted suicide only cost $35 – $45.
  • At the same time, people have also constructed arguments against assisted suicide. These include:
  • Doctors aren’t to do any harm, as per the Hippocratic Oath
  • Hospice care and palliative care specialists exist to help people die with dignity when it’s their time instead of having a patient decide when this time is
  • Poor people would choose assisted suicide instead of opting for other therapies
  • A person’s religious viewpoints also play a large role here. While many Christians are against it, other groups including Unitarian Universalists are for it. Clearly, this is a deeply personal decision.
  • The Difference Between Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

With a firmer understanding of what assisted suicide is, if you’re like many people, you may still confuse it with euthanasia. Understanding that there’s a definite difference here is important. The difference is that with euthanasia a doctor administers a lethal drug. However, with assisted suicide, you must have a sound mind when you voluntarily express your wish to die by using a lethal medication. They must then administer the medication themselves.

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In many areas, marijuana legislation is becoming increasingly flexible. More people with a medical need for this drug currently have legal access to the products they require for pain relief and increased gonadotropin among many other things. Not surprisingly, this is due in large part to the aggressive and ongoing efforts of individuals and organizations who believe that the benefits of marijuana use far exceed the drawbacks. Following are just a few of the many ways in which marijuana activists have successfully made their case in recent years.

Proving That Marijuana Users Are Not Typically Criminals

Propaganda that’s been in circulation for decades has helped stigmatize marijuana as a highly addictive, gateway drug that is certain to set the stage for criminal behavior. Activists have therefore been forced to make education and the re-education of the public, one of their primary agendas. The best and most effective activists have gone out of their way to show that statistically, the average marijuana user is not a criminal. These individuals are instead, often people with progressive and chronic illnesses that entail symptoms which are not fully alleviated by more conventional, medical treatments. From Parkinson’s disease to cancer, people who use marijuana are often simply looking for relief and a way to diminish the impact that their illnesses have on their day to day functioning and their overall life qualities.

Educating The Public On The Cost Benefits Of Legalization

The most effective tactic on the part of activists in search of more accommodating marijuana legislation has actually been to show the costs benefits of legalization. By taxing the sale of marijuana and marijuana-based products, many states have been able to do away with budget deficits and to actually obtain revenue reserves. There is no arguing with solid numbers. As more states move to legalize this drug, the costs benefits become increasingly apparent and increasingly harder to disprove.

Fighting For More Flexible Marijuana Legislation

It is important to note that many states do not simply legalize marijuana overnight, even if the governing authorities within these states are eager to capitalize on the economic benefits of legalization. For instance, there are some states that allow for the very limited use of CBD products among those who have been officially diagnosed with a very limited range of specific, medical ailments. Moreover, several of these states do not provide in-state access to CBD products, despite allowing residents to use them. As such, those who qualify must actually travel out of state in order to get the medicinal marijuana products they need. This type of marijuana legislation is hardly progressive or beneficial. In addition to putting CBD users at odds with both federal marijuana legislation and the marijuana laws within the states in which they are making their purchases, this legislation also fails to account for the many other consumers who do not qualify for CBD use due to the surprisingly stringent restrictions that have been imposed. Activists in these states work hard to point out the obvious conflicts that this less than a progressive form of legalization creates.

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