Perhaps you’ve seen it already. A painting by a conservative has been the talk of the day in what seems like much of the lefty blogosphere, but probably some righty sites too. The painting (linked to slow loading Google cache because the site is down), by Jon McNaughton, depicts Jesus Christ surrounded by a number of figures from history as well as depictions that exemplify the artist’s political commentary. For example, the things the artist are against are looking away from Jesus, while things the artist supports look toward him. Those looking away are supposedly “liberal” things, but to me the inference seems to be that they’re un-American. I make this conclusion because while the things he supports are on the right-side of it (from Jesus’ point of view), some of the depictions don’t fit neatly into a “liberal-conservative spectrum.” Therefore, these things are probably, to McNaughton, American in nature, as opposed to what is shown on the left side.
You can mouse around to each of the figures and a description of each one’s significance will pop up.
However, what caught my eye the most was one of the documents on the steps.
McNaughton depicts these as Supreme Court decisions with which he disagrees. The one that I found most interesting was the one closest to Jesus, which the description identifies as the 1803 Maybury vs. Madison decision in which the Court ruled it has the power of judicial review, which today forms the backbone of our justice system. The description is as such:
This case opened the door for judicial review of the constitution and made it possible for activist judges to be appointed and to be able to interpret the constitution.
While judicial review is not without its opponents, the precedent has now been well entrenched for over 200 years. I’ve never seen any argument against it myself. Even the most conservative of justices, including Antonin Scalia have not, to my knowledge, spoken unfavorably of it. So, McNaughton’s view is so far to the right it is quite nearly flung out of the political spectrum entirely.
The description as written is interesting, because if he truly believes what he’s writing, he’s pinning people like Scalia as “judicial activists,” and there are certainly not many people who’d call him a judicial activist.
What say you all? Was the enactment of judicial review itself an early form of judicial activism, and is the doctrine constitutional?