Is the Current Supreme Court an 'Activist Court'?

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Vice President Kamala Harris told Chuck Todd of Meet the Press that this “activist court” took away a “constitutional right” and “we are suffering as a nation because of it.”


Harris is referring to the Dobbs decision that overturned the Roe vs. Wade decision. Of course, the court took nothing away. Abortion is still legal where the citizens of a state have determined it should be. Where citizens believe it shouldn’t be legal, it’s not. It’s a frighteningly simple concept that pro-abortion advocates refuse to acknowledge because they know they lose the “rights” argument every time.

But that doesn’t stop pro-abortion advocates like Harris from trying to portray women as “suffering” from not being able to kill their unborn children.


“We had an established right for almost half a century, which is the right of women to make decisions about their own body as an extension of what we have decided to be, the privacy rights to which all people are entitled. And this court took that constitutional right away, and we are suffering as a nation because of it.”

Harris went on to say that as someone who has been “inspired by people like Thurgood Marshall,” and by the work of Chief Justice Earl Warren on court decisions like Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (which struck down school segregation), the court’s actions cause her “great concern about the integrity of the court overall.”


The left questioning the “integrity of the court” has a lot more to do with the Roberts court handing down decisions they disagree with politically than with any questioning of the actual integrity of justices or the court itself. It’s become a political talking point — a way to lobby for packing an expanded Supreme Court with radical justices who would, indeed, give the left all the “activism” they can handle.

Related: Maxine Waters Calls for Insurrection: ‘The Hell with the Supreme Court’

But the reality is a lot different.

Arguing that the current court has departed from the approach of the court when justices like Earl Warren, Marshall and Sandra Day O’Connor sat on it, Harris proclaimed this one “a very different court.”

It’s interesting that Harris should mention the Warren Court — by far and away the most activist Supreme Court in modern history. The only difference for Harris is that the Warren court was handing down decisions that Harris and her leftist friends could agree with politically.

Keith Whittington of Princeton Law School writes, “The Roberts Court has issued its share of controversial constitutional decisions, but a rarely observed but important feature of the Roberts Court is its unusual restraint in the exercise of judicial review. By some measures, in fact, the Roberts Court can thus far be called the least activist Supreme Court in history.”


While that critique was written in 2015, it’s basically held true. The few decisions from the Roberts court that might be considered activist on affirmative action, voting rights, and abortion, were all reviews of problematic cases that a wide spectrum of legal experts believed should have been reviewed years ago.

The United States changes over time. So should the law. As immutable as our Constitution is, interpretations of what it means continue to be made as circumstances and the mores of society change. That’s always been the genius of the Constitution and the people of America.




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