CJE - Court Invokes 'Judicial Engagement'

Striking down individual mandate, court calls for judicial engagement, not abdication

In striking down Obamacare’s individual mandate today (August 12, 2011), the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals used the term “judicial engagement” to describe the proper role of courts in deciding constitutional cases.  The Institute for Justice coined that term and today marks the first time a federal court has used it in this context. Instead of deferring reflexively to Congress as courts so often do, the Eleventh Circuit correctly observed that “the Constitution requires judicial engagement, not judicial abdication.”  Institute for Justice president Chip Mellor praised the ruling: “We have more government at every level than the Constitution authorizes.  This decision is an important step toward limited government.”  Senior attorney Clark Neily, who directs IJ’s Center for Judicial Engagement, said, “Constitutional limits on government power are meaningless if judges will not enforce them.  We applaud the court for refusing to abdicate its responsibility and recognizing the importance of judicial engagement in securing our precious liberty.”

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