Albin argues against judicial philosophy labels

The early part of state Supreme Court Justice Barry Albin’s questioning by Republicans has focused on school funding.

State Sen. Gerald Cardinale, citing the 1970s-era Abbot v. Burke and Robinson v. Cahill cases – both of which provided the basis for state funding of poor school districts — asked Albin if he though the court had acted in an “activist” manner.

Albin said that he did not feel able to comment on cases the court heard before he was seated in 2002. But he did try to answer Cardinale in principle, arguing that labels like “activist” and “conservative” were inadequate to describe complicated court decisions.

Courts sometimes have to invalidate based on their constitutionality, he said.

“Would one say that’s an activist decision or a conservative decision…” he said. “I’m saying this, Senator, because the labels that we use can sometimes be confusing or misleading. And that’s why I’m trying not to use those terms, because I’m uncertain they apply.”

Albin argues against judicial philosophy labels