by Steven Malanga
June 12, 2014
State judicial activism has cost taxpayers billions in unfunded mandates and thwarted efforts to control spending. In 1977, amidst a conservative shift in the Supreme Court, Justice William Brennan, Jr., exhorted state judges to embrace activist interpretations of the law. Though he has not lived to see it, Brennan has since gotten his “revenge,” as it were, as state judges across the nation have reinterpreted the law in such a way as to explode state education, welfare, and entitlement budgets, all while significantly curtailing the power of voters to control spending. Avoiding fiscal ruin will require the constraint of judicial activism, a process that will require law schools to train more conservative future judges, and will also require voters to be more discerning in the judges (or judge appointers, like governors) whom they select.