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Georgetown University Law Center

2002

Judicial activism

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Is The Rehnquist Court An "Activist" Court? The Commerce Cause Cases, Randy E. Barnett Jan 2002

Is The Rehnquist Court An "Activist" Court? The Commerce Cause Cases, Randy E. Barnett

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In United States v. Lopez, the Supreme Court, for the first time in sixty years, declared an act of Congress unconstitutional because Congress had exceeded its powers under the Commerce Clause. In 2000, the Court reaffirmed the stance it took in Lopez in the case of United States v. Morrison, once again finding that Congress had exceeded its powers. Are these examples of something properly called "judicial activism"? To answer this question, we must clarify the meaning of the term "judicial activism." With this meaning in hand, the author examines the Court's Commerce Clause cases. The answer he gives ...