Judicial Activism is both praised and criticized, as it often divides the court„ but it has without question produced valuable results over issues that were controversial at some time, such as Brown v. Board of Education, a critical case that brought an end to segregation during the 1950s. This judicial activism is defined as ‘an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution holding that the spirit of the times and the needs of the nation can legitimately influence judicial decisions.’ Van Hollen’s recent public announcements on particular issues in Wisconsin remind me eerily of this method, but without the formality of court.
His first act of legislation involved the issue of a government official having security at a convention or political meeting. The mere idea of this is absurd since it would be incredibly unlikely that any would act violently against him despite his rather clumsy leadership to date. The problem, though, is that by raising the issue, through his staff, he is attempting to legitimize this hazy legislation by using himself as a precedent (also it is more than likely that he wanted to put himself in the spotlight). If he succeeds it will be more than likely more people would follow.
So, the spirit of the law, a phrase used by those on the Supreme Court to justify their interpretation is now being said by Van Hollen as he attempts to reach for power the of legislation, but he is not a legitimate actor in the law making stage. This is especially true because he isn’t even attempting to go through the proper channels of change. In reference to the new prisoner litigation reform act, he says ‘current criticisms of the Act can be addressed without defeating the spirit of the law and without sacrificing the benefits it provides to the courts and our citizens.’