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A Judge Who Actually Judges

By       Message WILLIAM FISHER     Permalink
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The Judicial Branch of our Government gets batted around for all kinds of shortcomings. Judges have enemies on the Left. Judges have enemies on the Right. Judges are accused of favoring their ideologies over the law -- activist judges, they're called. Others are are bashed for believing that the Constitution is a "living document." Those believers are excoriated for "rewriting" the Constitution.

At the other end of the judicial spectrum, judges have supporters who plumb the depths of centuries-old originalism to fathom what the Founding Fathers really meant.

So it's more than a little refreshing when we find a judge driven neither by personal ideology or jurisprudential geology.

Well, I found one, and that's why I feel refreshed today. The New York Times must have felt OK too; they wrote an editorial.

The Judge's name is Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. Last week, Judge Forrest did what judges are supposed to do. She adjudicated. Two cases. Both, in my view, according to the US Constitution.

Here's how they went down:

In one case, Judge Forrest slapped down a provision of a 2011 law in which Congress set out expansive interpretations of Presidential authority -- specifically the authority to detain individuals indefinitely. Such detention, according to the judge, went "beyond the real needs of the war in Afghanistan, the campaign against Al Qaeda or legitimate counterterrorism efforts in general."

I frequently disagree with the New York Times, but this time I'm in their corner. The Times said the judge "was right to challenge government's claims of ever-expanding, unsupervised detention authority around the world..."

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William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)

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