“Activist judges” is a code phrase used by conservatives to attack courts that make decisions they disagree with, which usually involve granting or protecting rights to some person or group who have been excluded or discriminated against.

But what about “activist politicians,” who pass extremist laws to give themselves more power? Governor Jeb Bush tried it in Florida in the Terri Schiavo case and it took until yesterday for that state’s supreme court to remind him that, in the constitution, there’s a little thing called “separation of powers.” He’s not the emperor of the state, and can’t just will himself imperial powers over life and death.

Now, the US House has passed a bill, pushed by Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, that would deny the US Supreme Court and other federal courts the right to rule on whether “under God” should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance. There’s a similar bill in the Senate from another Missourian, Jim Talent, that attempts the same end run. Whether you think those two words belong in the Pledge, or not, is immaterial. You should be concerned about activist politicians trying to uproot the Constitution of the United States and rebuild it for their own purposes.

It’s purely a political move in an election year, and cheap exploitation of a wedge issue. Anyone who votes against the bill can be positioned as being against the Pledge of Allegiance, and thus unpatriotic. If I were running against them, I’d remind voters that the law itself is unpatriotic, that the US Constitution, which clearly states the powers delegated to the three branches of government, is more important to defend than the Pledge of Allegiance.

This is the same House of Representatives that voted this summer to strip the Supreme Court of its right to hear any cases involving same-sex marriage. That one didn’t become law, but if this keeps up, what’s to keep activist politicians from passing all sorts of unconstitutional laws granting themselves more and more power, and then preventing the judicial branch from denying their implementation? Isn’t it enough that Congress can give itself a raise with your tax dollars any time it likes, while running up a huge budget deficit?

Ironically, were the Akin/Talent bills to become law, there would almost certainly be a challenge, and the Supreme Court would eventually have to decide the constitutionality of a law that removes their power to decide the constitutionality of a law.

The good news is that Congress has fixed all of the other problems in America, so it has time to waste on nonsense like this.