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  • Though it is sometimes easy to forget, constitutional cases have real-world consequences. The pursuit of truth in the courtroom sets people free from arbitrary restrictions on the pursuit of their American dreams. The following cases show what real judging can do for real people. District of Columbia v. Heller (2008): In Washington, D.C., security guard…

  • Invented out of whole cloth by the Supreme Court, the rational basis test applies in all constitutional cases that do not involve rights the Supreme Court has deemed “fundamental” such as free speech, religion, and voting. Contrary to its name, the rational basis test is not rational, it is not concerned with the actual basis…

  • A Brief History of Fake Judging The Constitution is a singular triumph in the timeless quest for liberty and limited government. Properly understood and enforced, it secures the “blessings of liberty” better than any political system in human history. But the U.S. Supreme Court has abdicated its duty to fully enforce the Constitution, with the…

  • Judicial engagement is informed by a principled understanding of how the Constitution protects our freedom and how the courts should enforce its terms. The Constitution limits the proper scope and means of government action. The Framers wrote the Constitution to constrain government power. The Constitution explicitly defines a limited set of powers belonging to the…

  • Never in modern times has the need for enforcing constitutional limits on government been more urgent. Government at all levels has expanded to threaten our most basic liberties and our very way of life. This explosion of political power violates our Constitution, which was carefully crafted to protect us from the rampant and intrusive government…

  • Today, we have far more government than the Constitution permits and far less freedom than the Constitution guarantees. We need a cutting-edge approach to judging in order to restore long-lost liberty and keep government in check in the years to come. That approach is judicial engagement. Judicial engagement ensures that the government provides an honest,…

  • Got questions about judicial engagement? Let us know (link to “Contact Us”). We’ll answer them. Judicial engagement stands up under any level of scrutiny. 1. What does judicial engagement mean? Judicial engagement describes a process of judging that consists of a genuine effort to determine whether the government is pursuing constitutionally permissible ends using constitutionally permissible…

  • Judicial abdication allows homes and livelihoods to be destroyed and voices to be censored, and it deprives the victims of government abuse of a meaningful recourse. Susette Kelo (Kelo v. City of New London (2005)): The city of New London authorized the New London Development Corporation to seize land belonging to Susette Kelo and her…

  • Since its founding in 2011, IJ’s Center for Judicial Engagement has worked to change the way Americans think about and talk about the role of judges in our system of government. We are offering a cutting-edge alternative to the tired, counterproductive language of “judicial activism” and “judicial restraint.” We are changing public discourse about the…

  • Discussions of judicial decision-making have long been dominated by charges of “judicial activism” and calls for “judicial restraint.” Today, both liberals and conservatives use the term “activism” as an epithet to disparage and discredit decisions with which they disagree, while calling for judicial “restraint” when they want majorities to get their way. There are several…

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