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As we rely on our judicial system more and more to protect the rights of the citizens in the United States we must review the concepts of judicial restraint versus that of judicial activism. The concept of judicial restraint encourages the judges to almost “police” themselves when utilizing their judicial powers. Under this concept we are looking at judges limiting the exercise of their own power and only using their power if they feel that a law or verdict is unconstitutional (Kemic, 2004). The issue that we have then encountered is what determines if it is really unconstitutional, as this has come to show realization that the view is varied in these regards too.
When analyzing the differences between judicial restraint and judicial activism we are indeed looking at complete opposites. Judicial activism is the interpretation of the Constitution, where Judicial Restraint limits the power that a judge has to strike down a law, and is fact based without interpretation. In judicial restraint the judges uphold the law and do not strike down anything unless it is found unconstitutional. Judicial activism has a great influence on social policies which have become more and more prevalent in our society today. In Judicial activism judges are given the power to overturn rulings, and laws when Constitutional bodies are felt to not be acting appropriately.
When analyzing the backgrounds and rulings that have occurred under Justice Sotomayor and Justice Thomas, we find a perfect balance of judicial activism through Justice Sotomayor, and Judicial Restraint through Justice Thomas. These two individuals while working for the same common goal has two very different approaches which assisted them in their being nominated to the Supreme Court as it would allow for the panel to be balanced, and believed to help achieve the outcomes on rulings that were necessary to continue to move decisions along and keep society in general happy with the laws and governing’s that were taking place.
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