Interpret or Make Law?


“We want judges who interpret law, not make law.” is ignorant right-wing hogwash.

We all agree that law needs interpretation. It rarely springs fully-formed from the legislature, so that its meaning is clear to all who read it. Even the U.S. Constitution needs interpretation — it doesn’t explicitly address every conceivable situation.

So we do indeed want judges who interpret the law. But interpreting law is making law. The law is what the legislature says it is, as interpreted by the judiciary and as enforced by the executive. Every judicial decision — even those with which the right wing disagrees — is an interpretation of the law.

If the legislature thinks the judiciary has misinterpreted a statute, it can (and is expected by the courts to) rewrite the statute. If the People think the judiciary has misinterpreted the Constitution (for example, by finding a right that the People don’t think that document guarantees or should guarantee), the People can amend the Constitution.

“Judges who make law” are judges whose interpretations of the law gore the right-wing ox.

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0 responses to “Interpret or Make Law?”

  1. “Judges who make law” are judges whose interpretations of the law gore the right-wing ox.’

    Truer words were never spoken.

  2. No shit?

    It’s entirely possible that I sounded exactly like a lawyer before reading this post, grammarboy.

    Because — and you might have figured this out if you, say, read the title of the blog — I am a lawyer.

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