I've got a problem I've been mulling over. Adam Cohen takes the Roberts Court to task for being "activist." Activist seems to mean two things in this article, neither of which are particularly compelling. First, activist courts strike down laws. Second, activist courts overturn precedents.
Both species of "activism" do involve activity, I'll give him that. But there are serious problems with these definitions. I hope Cohen notices the tension between them. Imagine a court which struck down a law in term 1. Would overturning that decision in term 2 be activist? Or would it be the proper way to remedy a past wrong?
(This hypothetical situation is analogous to what happened in the abortion case this term. Congress passed a ban on partial birth abortions and the Court struck it down a few years back. Congress passed another ban specifically written to address the problems in the first law and the Court upheld it. People have accused the Court of reversing the earlier decision, but that is not what happened at all. And, even if it were, is reversing an activist decision activist?)
There may be an activist critique of the Roberts Court, but Cohen hasn't offered it. He has merely labeled all activity "activism" and said "Gotcha!"