The Most Democratic Branch by Jeffrey Rosen
Though it may come as a surprise to some, the charge of judicial activism was first leveled against the Right. In the late 19th century, as the Supreme Court began to assume its modern role—the role, that is, of an aggressive definer and enforcer of national rights—its primary concern was to protect property, especially against new economic regulations. Populists and Progressives were enraged, and campaigned against activist judges as out-of-touch elitists who, in the guise of interpreting the Constitution, imposed their personal political views on an unwilling majority.
About the Author
Ken I. Kersch, a new contributor, teaches politics and constitutional law at Princeton, and is the author of Constructing Civil Liberties: Discontinuities in the Development of American Constitutional Law (Cambridge, 2004).