By Jonathon Van Maren
Canadian commentary on the United States is almost always an exercise in insufferable back-patting, and nowhere is that more true than when columnists opine on the differences between our top courts.
In America, Canadian pundits note smugly, the Supreme Court is partisan and political, unlike in Canada, where we are so well-governed that we don’t even know who our justices are. The latest example of this cringe is from the National Observer which published a column with this pretentious headline: “You probably don’t know who’s on our Supreme Court. Let’s keep it that way.”
The Observer, of course, pinpointed the overturn of Roe v. Wade as a particularly egregious example of the court’s partisanship (Roe v. Wade itself and the subsequent decision to uphold it, of course, were not political). The columnist in question then managed to make a string of mistakes, including repeating the popular falsehood that justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch had promised not to overturn Roe (they simply affirmed it as a longstanding precedent, which it was and is no longer.) Canada’s court, on the other hand, is a model of stability because Canadians don’t seem to care about it much.
But the only reason that Canadian liberals are so pleased by this state of affairs is because Canada’s Supreme Court is willing to throw out its own precedents in its relentless pursuit of maximal liberalism. It is Canada’s Supreme Court that consistently strikes blows against religious freedom; it is Canada’s Supreme Court that created the euthanasia regime now viewed the world over as a cautionary tale (“if we’re not careful, we’ll end up like Canada.”)