Judicial Oligarchy, or Balanced Republican Government?

Sometimes a court’s attitude demonstrates judicial activism as much as its actions. A judicial opinion can tell us much about a court’s view of its role in the balance of separated powers, the hallmark of American republican government. The New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Lewis v. Harris speaks volumes: “Although courts can ensure equal treatment, they cannot guarantee social acceptance, which must come through the evolving ethos of a maturing society.In a long passage that is awkwardly Freudian, the majority concludes the court’s opinion with repeated declarations that its ruling actually respects separation of powers. The court gives lip service to the requirement that the court “give ... deference to any legislative enactment unless it is unmistakably shown to run afoul of the Constitution.