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Modern Judicial Restraint

Ian Millhiser catches Sen. Jeff Sessions expressing the embodiment of the modern Republican judicial philosophy: demanding aggressively intervene to overturn laws they don't like, while leaving in place laws they do like. First Sessions announced:

The American people are concerned about their courts. They’re concerned about a growing expansive government that seems to be beyond anything they’ve ever seen before. And they’d like to know what their judges might have to do about it. So I think that’s kind of where we are.

Then, seconds later, he added:

The question is: does the judge understand that they can’t utilize the power, the lifetime appointment, to redefine the meaning of the constitution — to have it promote an agenda in an activist way that the American people won’t vote for.

Both parties are fairly instrumental about the law. They favor judicial activism in issue areas where they're politically weak, and support it in areas where they're politically strong. The difference is that Republicans tend to alternate their demands for judicial activism with a lot more pious declarations of fealty to judicial restraint.