Center for Judicial Engagement
- Saint Joseph Abbey v. Castille: The 5th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Louisiana’s casket-sales law, explaining that “[t]he great deference due state economic regulation does not demand judicial blindness to the history of a challenged rule or the context of its adoption nor does it require courts to accept nonsensical explanations for regulation.” The court unanimously held that laws amounting to “naked transfers of wealth” to politically favored insiders are unconstitutional.
- Clayton v. Steinagel: A judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah ruled that Utah's cosmetology/barbering licensing scheme is so disconnected from the practice of African hairbraiding, much less from whatever minimal threats to public health and safety are connected to braiding, that to premise Jestina's right to earn a living by braiding hair on that scheme is wholly irrational and a violation of her constitutionally protected rights. “[T]he right to work for a living in the common occupations of the community is of the very essence of the personal freedom and opportunity” that the Constitution was designed to protect.
- Craigmiles v. Giles: The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down Tennessee casket sales law, because “protecting licensed funeral directors from competition” is not a legitimate government purpose.
- City of Norwood v. Horney: The Ohio State Supreme Court unanimously held that the taking of properties by the government to give to a private developer is unconstitutional. Norwood v. Horney was the first case after Kelo to be argued before and decided by a state supreme court on the issue of using eminent domain for private development.
- Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services: 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals used the term “judicial engagement” to describe the proper role of courts in deciding constructional cases in its decision striking down ObamaCare’s individual mandate.
IJ’s Center for Judicial Engagement seeks to change the way we think about and talk about the role of judges in our system of government. The U.S. Constitution was designed to prevent runaway government like we have today. But constitutional limits on government power are meaningless unless judges enforce them. Enforcing those limits is the essence of judicial engagement.
For more on the Center’s animating principles, see its Declaration.