Notes: While George W. Bush says "activist judges" with venom, he indeed favors activist judges so long as they are right-wing activist judges. That's politics as usual, and both parties play this game with their own variety of judges.

There are, of course, both right-wing and left-wing activist judges. However, there are also some judges who try to apply the law without any overriding political agenda. So long as they also have a judicial temperment, these are usually the best judges. But still they don't often move up to higher courts because political parties want judges who will further their viewpoints and rule for their partisans.

I used the term social promotion in the cartoon because some marginal judges get appointed because they have worked in the political party in power and are expected to rule in a partisan manner. Social promotion is when a student is simply passed from one grade to the next without having learned what was necessary to have advanced.  I'm also playing off the word "social" because judges don't get appointed simply because they are legal scholars or simply good judges.

In his State of the Union address last Tuesday, Bush twice used the phrase "activist judges" with melodramatic disdain. He was speaking to the issue of same-sex marriage and trying to throw a bone to his religious right following.
However, Bush intentionally stopped short vowing that he would support a constitutional amendment banning gay and lesbian marriages, instead leaving open the possibility that he might support an amendment if activist judges forced the issue by ruling that states without same-sex marriage must recognize marriages from states with same-sex marriages. The truth is that Bush does not want be forced to take a stand on such an amendment, but wants his religious right supporters to believe that he supports it. 01.25.04