Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Moreno’s Activism


Sources close to President Obama are floating six names for his Supreme Court short list. One recent addition to the trial balloon game is Carlos Moreno, an associate justice on the Supreme Court of California.  Unlike some proposed nominees who have little if any experience from which to assess their judicial philosophy, Moreno’s views are clear: he is a hard Left judicial activist.  

A brief glimpse into his recent record is all that is necessary to reach this conclusion.  Moreno signed on to what I previously dubbed the Mona Lisa of activist opinions last summer when he joined three other members of his court in creating a right to same sex marriage from whole cloth, a decision that was soundly rejected at the ballot box when California voters adopted Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that reverses Moreno’s hubristic act of judicial legislation.  The floating of Moreno seems to confirm my previous prediction that Obama is not only looking to appoint activists, but activists who are likely to carry out policies like promoting gay marriage which his actions support, but for political reasons, his words do not.

Moreno’s gay marriage decision should be upsetting to those who oppose as well as those who support gay marriage—at least anyone in either of those camps who cares what the law actually says.  The case was a raw assertion of Moreno and his colleagues’ policy preferences which, while lacking a sufficient foundation in law, were nonetheless implemented to displace the clearly established will of the voters.  I fear that we are seeing another example of Obama’s empathy trumping law.


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