Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—September 17

Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention (Junius Brutus Stearns, Image via Wikimedia)

A mixed day for the Constitution:

1787—The Constitutional Convention unanimously resolves that “the preceeding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the Opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the Recommendation of its Legislature, for their Assent and Ratification.…”

1939—David Hackett Souter is born in Melrose, Massachusetts. In a tragic blunder, President George H.W. Bush appoints Souter to the Supreme Court in 1990. During his tenure on the Court, Souter proceeds to misread into the Constitution the Left’s agenda on a broad range of issues—for example, abortion (including partial-birth abortion), homosexual conduct (including a virtual declaration of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage), and imposition of secularism as the national creed.

2020Pennsylvania law requires mail-in and absentee ballots to be returned no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Acknowledging that “there is no ambiguity regarding the deadline and that “there is nothing constitutionally infirm” about it, a narrow majority of the Pennsylvania supreme court nonetheless rules (in Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar) that the coronavirus pandemic justifies a three-day extension of the deadline.


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