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Activist justices

Published June 29, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

On Aug. 5, 2010, Sen. Orrin Hatch was one of 37 senators to vote against the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Hatch was clear in his reasoning: Kagan's "primarily academic and political experience and her activist judicial philosophy make her inappropriate for serving on the Supreme Court." In short, Hatch was worried about Kagan being an activist judge inclined to legislate from the bench.

I now ask, how does Hatch feel about his confirmation votes for Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito?

It was those five justices who decided to legislate from the bench and become the activists feared by Hatch when they voted to gut the Voting Rights Act, an act overwhelmingly approved by Congress in a bipartisan manner.

The chickens have come home to roost. Rather than complain about and deride Hatch any further on this issue, I simply call on him to change his behavior. In the future, he should apply the same criteria he used to vote no against Kagan to evaluate and vote on those justices nominated by a president of his political party.

Jeffrey Enquist

West Jordan