Taking judicial activism to a whole new level

Juan Cristobal says: – President Chávez today inaugurated a meeting of Presidents of Supreme Courts of South American nations. In his address, he urged justices, not to do their job and apply laws, mind you, but to be warriors in some imaginary struggle against capitalism.

“It is important in the world today,” Chávez said, “to go to the deep roots of justice and the law … to achieve our liberation and stop the expansion of capitalism that is destroying the world.”

Funny – I thought the job of judges was to apply the law. In fact, I think even the most liberal thinkers out there, those who view judges as social activists, would find it troubling for a judge to be at the forefront of the struggle to change economic systems. But that, nakedly put, is how Chávez views the judiciary – as just another tool in achieving political goals.

Chávez continued his string of gaffes, saying that “laws and institutions must generate social and political equality,” apparently unaware that he was speaking to members of the judicial power, not the legislative power. He also likened the financial meltdown in the US to “an elephant drowning in a pool,” unaware perhaps that elephants make pretty good swimmers and that, given its size and the fact it has a trunk it can breathe through, an elephant would probably not drown in a pool.