Senator Elect Perdue Discusses Activist Judges and Boggs Nomination

Earlier this week, Senator Elect David Perdue addressed a group of Federalist Society lawyers in Atlanta. In one of his first public speaking appearances since being elected to the US Senate this November, Senator Elect Perdue made it clear to his audience that he would take a hard stance against activist judges as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Excerpts of his address from the Daily Report Online:

“I’m not a lawyer, but I hope to bring to that committee just a common-sense approach…I believe you go back to the Constitution, and you uphold what our founders had in mind to begin with, not what somebody in 1912 thought it meant or what some judge felt in 1998, but what did the founders really believe. I personally take a very hard stance about an activist judge. I’m sorry, but they shouldn’t create law.”

Senator Elect Perdue also said he expected to be “very involved” with the judicial nomination process adding that he would be “very thorough” in vetting potential judicial appointees. He also expected to see at least one United States Supreme Court vacancy arise during his first term in the Senate.

Perdue also briefly discussed the Michael Boggs nomination, and said he has yet to meet with him. Boggs is a former state legislator and current Georgia Court of Appeals judge who is presently awaiting confirmation to a seat on the Northern District of Georgia bench. His nomination has been stalled by the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee. Perdue said he would like to get Boggs’ perspective so as to decide for himself.

4 comments

  1. Andrew C. Pope says:

    As an attorney, this “activist judges” language just grinds my gears, because it’s blatantly code for “durr this judge did something I don’t like, durr.” The Constitution was written by, and is interpreted by, human beings. Were Jefferson, Madison, et. al. great thinkers? Sure, but they had human failings. I know it’s easy to feel like the Sweet Lord Baby Jesus came down and whispered the Constitution into George Mason’s ear, but this is a document that originally considered blacks 3/4 of a person, denied women the right to vote, and upheld the institution of slavery. It also is a reflection of human thought in the 18th century. It’s easy to have a limited executive when the country is a mostly rural backwater. Is it a great source for guiding principles? Yes. But we shouldn’t be limiting those principles just because the almighty founders didn’t mention gay people or executive orders in the Constitution.

    Judges, even “originalists” like Clarence Thomas have biases. Why? Because they’re human beings and human beings are all inherently flawed and biased. It’s ok, because they’re interpreting a human document, not one authored by some infallible God. If judges weren’t driven by biases we’d have nothing but 9-0 SCOTUS decisions because it would be very clear what the law “is” in a given instance. For the most part, the judges on the Federal bench do a good job of a) recognizing their biases and b) attempting to limit the impact those biases have on their ultimate decision-making process.

    I guess the irony here is that Perdue thinks the system of judicial review is somehow a new development. “Activist” judges have been “creating law” since Marbury. Judicial interpretation is something we’ve always had and will continue to have whether his “common-sense” agrees with it or not.

    • Harry says:

      Of course the worldview was different in the 18th century! I’m sure what Perdue is referring to is the Constitution “as Amended”. It wouldn’t be good to live under a reading of the basic law that strays too wide from agreed and adopted words. Don’t assume that political, human judges will “interpret” the constitution in a manner most beneficial for the most people. If you don’t like it, amend it.

  2. Dave Bearse says:

    Speaking of common sense, the fact that Boggs claimed that he didn’t know that the state posting on the internet the names and addresses of Georgia doctors that perform abortions would imperil the doctors, pretty much disqualifies Boggs on a common sense basis. Georgia, after all, is a state where those that merely testify against abortion restrictions are subjected to burglary and arson.

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