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The Woodrow Wilson school of thought in matters of judicial activism
PGA Weblog ^

Posted on 05/26/2012 7:51:11 AM PDT by ProgressingAmerica

In "Constitutional government in the United States", Woodrow Wilson wrote the following: (Page 167)

The weightiest import of the matter is seen only when it is remembered that the courts are the instruments of the nation's growth, and that the way in which they serve that use will have much to do with the integrity of every national process. If they determine what powers are to be exercised under the Constitution, they by the same token determine also the adequacy of the Constitution in respect of the needs and interests of the nation; our conscience in matters of law and our opportunity in matters of politics are in their hands.

The courts are the instrument of growth? Because it is they who 'determine the adequacy of the constitution', it's all in their hands. Wilson explains this further:

There is so much to justify the criticism of our German critics; but they have not put their fingers upon the right point of criticism. It is not true that in judging of what Congress or the President has done, our courts enter the natural field of discretion or of judgment which belongs to other branches of government, a field in its nature political, where lie the choices of policy and of authority.

How odd. The 'German critics' were wrong, and Wilson seeks to correct them and show them the real place they should criticize. And with that as the precursor, I take this as a complaint. Wilson is stating that the courts aren't political enough - just like this; This is Obama complaining that the government isn't powerful enough, so too here in this book Wilson wants a more political court. He continues:

That field they respectfully avoid, and confine themselves to the necessary conclusions drawn from written law. But it is true that their power is political; that if they had interpreted the Constitution in its strict letter, as some proposed, and not in its spirit, like the charter of a business corporation and not like the charter of a living government, the vehicle of a nation's life, it would have proved a strait-jacket, a means not of liberty and development, but of mere restriction and embarrassment.

Again, just like Obama, Wilson is complaining here. If only the courts would cease all this strict constructionism, then Wilson could redistribute wealth and centrally plan every part of American life. Wilson was very much into this business of government-as-an-organism and here he makes it plain that he views government as a means of liberty and development. This is the antithesis of what the founders intended. And once more, Wilson puts on display his contempt for the founders by placing 'restriction and embarassment' next to each other. That the constitution is a government-limiting document is a good thing, it is these limits that guarantee the liberty of the people. It's very important to understand that when progressives prattle on about 'liberty', they have a very different meaning. He continues:

I have spoken of the statesmanship of control expected of our courts; but there is also the statesmanship of adaptation characteristic of all great systems of law since the days of the Roman praetor; and there can be no doubt that we have been singular among the nations in looking to our courts for that double function of statesmanship, for the means of growth. as well as for the restraint of ordered method.

The statesmanship of adaptation, as a "double function". What does he mean by this? He tells us:(Page 172)

What we should ask of our judges is that they prove themselves such men as can discriminate between the opinion of the moment and the opinion of the age, between the opinion which springs, a legitimate essence, from the enlightened judgment of men of thought and good conscience, and the opinion of desire, of self-interest, of impulse and impatience.

Woodrow Wilson was not playing games. He intended to remake America, just like Obama does. And well before he was elected president(He wrote this in 1908) just like Obama, he saw the courts as a vehicle to expand government. This is evident in that he's not asking the courts to stick within the realm of fact and law, but rather opinions of varying type. In another chapter of the book(page 193) he writes this:

The character of the process of constitutional adaptation depends first of all upon the wise or unwise choice of statesmen, but ultimately and chiefly upon the opinion and purpose of the courts. The chief instrumentality by which the law of the Constitution has been extended to cover the facts of national development has of course been judicial interpretation, the decisions of the courts. The process of formal amendment of the Constitution was made so difficult by the provisions of the Constitution itself that it has seldom been feasible to use it; and the difficulty of formal amendment has undoubtedly made the courts more liberal, not to say more lax, in their interpretation than they would otherwise have been. The whole business of adaptation has been theirs, and they have undertaken it with open minds, sometimes even with boldness and a touch of audacity.

So in many instances, we progressives can use the courts to circumvent the amendment process. Why go through all that messy nonsense of asking the states? Just pack the courts, and make it so.

In a lot of ways, the universities are the source of America's undoing. No doubt Wilson talked about ideas like this with all of his buds at Princeton and elsewhere, formulating ways of getting this sort of thing right.

TOPICS: Education
KEYWORDS: progressingamerica

1 posted on 05/26/2012 7:51:22 AM PDT by ProgressingAmerica
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To: ProgressingAmerica

Wilson was a pro compared to Obama.

2 posted on 05/26/2012 7:53:46 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: RichardMoore; Graewoulf; Little Ray; Madame Dufarge; Eye of Newt; AdvisorB; HOYA97; Klemper; ...
If anybody wants on/off the revolutionary progressivism ping list, send me a message

Progressives do not want to discuss their own history. I want to discuss their history.

Summary:It's important to know when and where progressives have laid the foundations for what would come later on.

3 posted on 05/26/2012 7:54:30 AM PDT by ProgressingAmerica (What's the best way to reach a you tube generation? Put it on you tube!)
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To: ProgressingAmerica

Greetings ProgressingAmerica:

Was there a George Soros type of sugar daddy behind the Wilson election? What forces funded TR’s distended ego?


4 posted on 05/28/2012 6:21:51 AM PDT by OneLoyalAmerican (In God I trust, all others provide citations.)
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To: OneLoyalAmerican

There very well could have been. Conspiracy theorist websites would have you believe that it’s people like Paul Warburg, Jacob Schiff, JP Morgan, Bernard Baruch, Rockefeller, and others who comprised of members of what would become the Federal Reserve Board or the Jekyll Island meeting. And they may well be right.

I’m highly suspicious of these storylines though, because for one they usually end up as rants against jews, zionists, banksters, the Rothschilds, the Trilateral Commission, and other conspiracy topics.

Which is sad, considering that on the surface it is a valid topic. Another reason I’m suspicious is that the Federal Reserve itself and the CFR are never identified as progressive institutions. I’ll frequently see Edward House’s name glossed over, even though he was hugely relevant and believed strongly in progressivism.(I’m looking at one of such websites now, just so I have a base of information to work from.) Another name frequently brought up is Nelson Aldrich, who again like all the rest is usually never identified as a progressive.

What I find absolutely laughable is when some of these sites try to portray Wilson as if he was a ‘dupe’, or a ‘tool’. Wilson was a hardcore progressive and hated the ideas of the founding and those that made America great, if anything he led them in the direction they went.

But without “a Glenn Beck of 1912”, it would probably be impossible to know who the “George Soros of 1912” is. I would at least look in the direction of those who would be the founding members of the Fed. But America was a different place a century ago; Americans were different. I wouldn’t doubt it if they got a lot of funding from the voting public just based on their personalities, without the need for a Soros type character. Theodore Roosevelt was a popular figure in his day, he would’ve been a big financial draw on either party’s ballot.(Bull Moose or Republican)

5 posted on 05/28/2012 10:31:07 AM PDT by ProgressingAmerica (What's the best way to reach a you tube generation? Put it on you tube!)
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