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View Diary: A Little Reminder About 'Judicial Activism' (172 comments)

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  •  animal vocalizations devoid of objective meaning (1+ / 0-)
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    Conservatives have always played fast and loose with language, but their most frequently used and powerful words and phrases really break the boundaries of language and work on the level of animal cries: they are capable of creating an emotional state in whoever hears them, but are otherwise devoid of meaning.

    "Judicial activism", like "judicial restraint", is one example. All it really means is to suggest to a conservative the specter of a power they cannot control that is turning their world upside-down. The emotional state it is meant to create is one of impotence and victimization, and of horror and disgust at something that defies the cosmic order. "Judicial activism" is thus "bad" and must have something to do with judges, but otherwise can be and is applied indiscriminately, as the Supremes' own records show.

    To attach a specific and technical meaning to "judicial activism" and to any other conservative trigger word is doomed to failure because it has no such meaning to the people who use it and to whom they are speaking.

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