Bill Maher took to his blog over the weekend to slam Republicans’ use of the term “activist judge,” referring in recent days to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision not to reinstate President Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim travel and immigration ban.
Maher wrote, “Those words don’t mean anything – they just trot them out any time there’s a decision they dislike.” He continued by expanding on the most prominent “activist judges” over the years.
For instance, Maher named Judge James Robart, “an old-school Republican with traditional views on executive overreach and the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment” who was nominated by former President George W. Bush. Judge Robart voted in favor of the temporary restraining order against Trump’s travel ban, in turn making him an “activist judge.”
Maher went on, noting:
The most accomplished “activist judges” over the past decade or so are the conservatives on the Supreme Court who overturned the Voting Rights Act, a law renewed by the Senate 98 to 0 and signed by George W. Bush; who ditched a century of election laws to legislate Citizens United from the bench; who declared owning a gun an individual right, abandoning all precedent; who stopped vote counting in Florida to make George W. Bush the Decider. And these are just a few examples.
He added, Trump Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch will likely be seen as someone practicing “judicial restraint,” as someone who leans even further to the right than the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Maher said that any attempt to paint Gorsuch as such is “bullsh*t.”
“If longstanding progressive legislation comes before him, he’ll judicial activist on it like a mofo,” Maher noted.