Judicial Philosophy Essay

The judicial philosophies of the justices in the United States Supreme Court differ from one another. These philosophies are depended on the justices personal experiences and ideologies they grew up with. We find some are on the liberal side, some are conservative, while others are more on the moderate side. The liberal judges believe that the U. S constitution is a living document. This means that the Constitution should be open to modification and modernization according to the demands of contemporary times. They believe that there are certain rules and restrictions that are outdated and should be revised.

The conservative judges on the other hand, strictly believe that the meaning of the Constitution was fixed by the founding fathers of the U. S and cannot be unalterable except by amendment process. They believe that tradition and moral values of the founding fathers are extremely important and should be respected by keeping it the way it is. The moderate judges are basically a balance between the liberal and conservative beliefs. They vote on issues not by their beliefs, but their evaluations and instinct on what they deem correct. One great judge that follows the ideas of conservative judicial philosophy is Justice Antonin Scalia.

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He firmly believes that the Constitution should only be interpreted in a way that does not go against the original objective the founding fathers had about a particular affair. On the other hand, Justice William J. Brennan was a liberal judge who believed that the Constitution was adaptable and it was possible to conform it to serve current society. His philosophy is that laws and restrictions can never violate a person’s dignity and self worth. Brennan also believed that the ‘majority rule’ system is unfair because it imposes its ruling over the minorities which he considers political imperialism.

A judge who believed the exact opposite of this philosophy was Justice William Rehnquist. He considers himself a conservative but his actions show him as a moderate. Rehnquist said in one of his speeches that, “political majorities are entitled to enact positive law and impose their moral view on the minorities”(Lanahan 300). He believed that the law is backed by “moral goodness” and cannot be corrupted. As we can see, the judicial philosophy of each justices depends on their individual perspective of the Constitution and law.

I believe that my view of the Constitution is closest to Justice Antonin Scalia’s. I think limited government is the best government. The framers of the Constitution were considered the enlightened ones and they knew from experience that giving government too much power was very risky. That notion led them to formulate the Constitution in a way that will maximize the freedoms of the citizens. I think that making too many changes to the Constitution dilutes its original purpose of protecting freedom, but rather takes advantage of and limits ones liberty.