“Judicial Activism: judicial rulings that are suspected of being based on personal opinion, rather than on existing law.”

A recent example of judicial activism is the 2010 Federal Sentencing Act:

Before 2010, drug dealers would get different lengths of prison time for the amount/type of drugs in their possession. For instance, someone who had 5 grams of crack cocaine faced a 5- year sentence. However, someone who obtained 500 grams of powder cocaine would get the same prison sentence. To ensure a more fair punishment, Congress passed the Federal Sentencing Act in August 2010. It reduced the imbalance of conviction in possession of crack cocain and its powdered form.  The U.S. Supreme Court then ruled that any convictions prior to the Act would not be changed because they were already sentenced. A lawsuit followed that decision and the Court was found guilty of violating the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees everyone “equal protection of the law.”

 

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