Continuing on "activist judges"
I posted this to get to the heart of the matter on Sotomayor and the lively discussion regarding her nomination.
I think it would behoove all of us to properly define what exactly an "activist judge" is. I would define an activist judge as one who does not follow the law and legal precedent when making a legal determination. Rather, such a judge would substitute what they think the law should be rather than what it is. However, there is a caveat.
A judge on the Supreme Court need not follow precedent, as bad precedent needs to be overturned. A district court or appeals court judge does need to follow any precedent, regardless of how wrong that precedent is. IIRC, Gonzalez v. Carhart was a model for how judges should act: district and appeals courts struck down the law banning partial birth abortion based on precedent and the law. The Supreme Court then changed the precedent.
Please offer up your own definitions of an activist judge and whether or not you'd agree that courts inferior to the Supreme Court are beholden to bad precedent.