The Florida Supreme Court: Judicial Activism & Judicial Self-Restraint – Some Examples

October 31, 2006

Thomas C. Marks Jr., Pamela Buha

This paper is about judicial activism and judicial self-restraint. These terms can mean different things to different people. However viewed, some approve of either or both and some do not, however, it is not the purpose of this paper to take sides in this age-old debate.

Activism waxes and wanes and can be traced back at least as far as Chief Justice John Marshall. If one considers what are probably his three most important opinions—Marbury, McCulloch, and Gibbons—each could easily be considered activist. Since this paper is to be about the Florida Supreme Court, let’s take only the briefest of looks at Chief Justice Marshall’s approach in those three cases.

Florida Supreme Court: Judicial Activism & Judicial Restrain