The Corner

Supremacist Courts

Jay, re last week’s Canadian Supreme Court decision, there’s no doubt (after some partial victories by us northern free-speechers in recent years) that it’s a serious setback for freedom of expression. The defendant, Bill Whatcott, is not partial to those of a homosexual bent. If one feels otherwise on these matters, it’s reasonable to be offended by his observations. But it’s entirely unreasonable to criminalize them. Bruce Bawer, who falls into the protected class on whose behalf the Canadian jurists claimed to act, says take your finely balanced, reasoned, nuanced judgment, and shove it:

Don’t do me any favors. I feel far less threatened by the likes of Whatcott than I do by courts that consider it their prerogative to limit the liberties of a free people in such an arrogant fashion. The justices seem not to recognize – or to care – that if you want to live in a truly free society, you’ve got to be willing to share that society with people who consider you an abomination and who feel compelled to shout their views from the rooftops.

He’s right. Bill Whatcott is far less of a threat to liberty than those six judges. What’s weird about all this is that, around the world, supposedly free peoples are happy to accord the bench (even a bench whose arguments are as incoherent as the Ottawa guys’) a monopoly power on all the great questions of the age. Even as every other societal institution in the West — church, monarchy — has lost authority, blokes in black robes have accrued more and more. South of the border, Paul Mirengoff has a post today on what he calls “the Supreme Court’s empire” — i.e., the notion that five judges have the power to redefine marriage. Which, in effect, means an institution that predates the United Sates by several millennia will be defined for a third of a billion people by whichever way Anthony Kennedy feels like swingin’ that morning. The universal deference to judicial supremacism is bizarre and unbecoming to a free people.

As a subject of Her Canadian Majesty, I reject not so much the supreme court’s ruling as their claim to jurisdiction. And I advise my compatriots to do the same. If you chance to run into one of these bozo jurists at a dinner party and they want to explain how subtle and nuanced their reasoning is, tell them, “Well, you’re entitled to your opinion. And so am I.”

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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