Judicial activism, also known as judicial review, is a process by which judges and other public officials issue rulings to try to reverse or alter a decision of a federal or state court.
The term judicial activism is used to describe the public activism undertaken by judges to change the legal system, usually by challenging the legal reasoning behind decisions.
Advocates for judicial activism say it is vital to ensuring the rule of law in the United States.
“Judicial activism has been a source of much concern and debate over the past decade,” said Marc Morial, a professor of law at George Washington University and a frequent contributor to the New York Times.
“There is little consensus as to whether or not it is really a good or bad thing.”
But it is not just judges who engage in judicial activism.
Many Americans also participate in judicial advocacy, according to a report released last year by the Brookings Institution.
Advocacy groups say that participation can be both positive and negative, but advocates of judicial activism see no contradiction.
“It’s about having a voice,” said Paul M. Gorman, president of the Judicial Accountability Project, which advocates for judicial accountability.
“It’s also about standing up and standing up for our rights.”
Gorman, who was an appellate judge in the 1990s, said that, for most people, judicial activism “is not just about exercising our constitutional rights, it’s also a form of resistance.”
“The way you think about it is, if you have a right, you fight for it,” he said.
“If you don’t have a rights, you don [fight] for it.”
In addition to judicial activism, advocates for accountability say there are other important ways to engage with the system.
For example, they point to the work of the American Bar Association’s Judicial Accountability Task Force, which has focused on judicial review in recent years.
The task force has focused its efforts on four critical areas: judicial integrity, judicial independence, judicial transparency, and judicial review.
It’s not just the courts that have been grappling with judicial activism since the Citizens United decision, said Elizabeth Gorton, a law professor at the University of Maryland.
The Supreme Court has held that money is speech, and in the decades since the case, judges have been using their authority to use their own resources to advocate for issues related to judicial ethics.
“We’ve had a judicial review movement that is about judicial independence,” Gortont said.
“In some ways, it is a way of protecting judicial independence because the judiciary is supposed to be independent, but it is also a way to protect judicial integrity.”
The role of judges in judicial review is to decide if a particular judge made a legal decision and to decide whether it was reasonable, said Daniel Kibler, a Georgetown University law professor who studies judicial activism and is the author of a book on the subject.
The role, he said, is to give the appearance of judicial independence.
“The whole point of judicial review as an independent mechanism is to allow the courts to be held accountable,” he told FoxNews.com.
The American Bar Assn.
has also been critical of judicial advocacy.
In a 2014 report, the group said that the courts have become increasingly influenced by judicial activism in the past 10 years, with the result that “the Court’s jurisprudence is more activist, more influenced by the concerns of activist judges, and more likely to have a more liberal approach to the law.”
“It is troubling that the Supreme Court would take judicial advocacy at this point, at a time when the Court is so vulnerable, when the court is in crisis, and when the courts are facing a historic crisis,” the report said.
It is also an example of how judicial activism can be detrimental to judicial independence and justice, according the group’s report.
The association also found that judges who are influenced by activist judges “have a much harder time maintaining independence and impartiality in their cases, and often make decisions that are much more likely than those of the less activist judges.”
“Judges can be more activist when they’re not in a position to evaluate the evidence and when they can be influenced by political or personal pressures,” the group added.
In recent years, there have been a number of instances where judges have made rulings that have come back to haunt them.
In December, a U.S. District Court judge in Arizona was sentenced to 18 months in prison for writing a ruling that made it easier for a local judge to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by a conservative blogger.
In 2015, a federal appeals court ruled that a Florida judge erred in overturning a jury’s acquittal of a man accused of stealing from a store by refusing to pay for a product that he had stolen.
In October 2016, a Florida court ruled against a judge who had sentenced a Florida man to 15 years in prison over his conviction for a 2008 armed robbery.
And last year, a Wisconsin judge sentenced a former law school dean to a year in prison after