Is judicial activism a dirty word? The media must tell it like it is

Justice Joel Ngugi

Justice Joel Ngugi delivers the judgment on eight consolidated petitions challenging the proposed BBI referendum at the High Court in Milimani, Nairobi, on May 13. Prof Ngugi led the five-judge bench that heard the case.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • It’s recognised that judicial activism is the power of judicial review to strike down actions by the Executive that are not constitutional.
  • Judicial activism is a good thing in our political dispensation.

Is ‘judicial activism’ a dirty word? Is describing a judge as an activist intended to disparage, disrespect, abuse and belittle? The outburst following the High Court judgment on BBI leaves no doubt that the term was used pejoratively. But is it pejorative?


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