U.S. scholar asking ‘inappropriate' questions about judges and their cases
From Friday's Globe and Mail, Friday, Jun. 19, 2009 03:52AM EDT
The Canadian Studies Grant – awarded to Indiana State University political scientist David Weiden – enabled him to contact scores of former law clerks to Supreme Court judges; repositories of a potential gold mine of information about specific judges and their rulings.
The survey questions probe such potentially explosive issues as whether law clerks actually wrote judgments, and how often they managed to “change your Justice's mind about a particular case or issue.”
No sooner had the court caught wind of Prof. Weiden's probing questions, however, than it issued a frosty warning to more than 500 former law clerks who have been – or may potentially be – contacted.
“The Court takes the view that participation in the survey by former clerks would violate confidentiality obligations,” said the e-mail, written by Jill Copeland, the Supreme Court's executive legal officer.
“The Court takes the view that confidentiality obligations of current and former law clerks are not limited to information about cases, but also extend to internal processes of each Justice's chambers.”
Ms. Copeland also warned that Prof. Weiden had apparently, “provided inaccurate information to at least one former law clerk of the Supreme Court of Canada in response to an inquiry about the court's position on the survey.”
Toronto litigator David Stratas – a former law clerk to Madam Justice Bertha Wilson – said that he found the survey offensive and inappropriate.
“This academic in a foreign land, armed with Canadian money, is mass mailing all of us, trying to get us to disclose details about what our judges asked us to do when we worked for them,” Mr. Stratas said.
“What assignments Justice Bertha Wilson gave me to do 25 years ago is trivia of no scholarly value. When we were employees, we were expected to keep confidences. There is no expiry date on that obligation. It's dubious information of little value and questionable ethics.”
The 27 Supreme Court law-clerk positions that come open each year are easily the most prized positions a graduating law student can obtain. Clerks typically go on to stellar legal careers, and remain personally close to the judges they clerked for.
Prof. Weiden's grant was provided under the federal Canadian Studies Grant Program. The program is designed to assist scholars in publishing articles, “that contribute to a better knowledge and understanding of Canada, its relationship with the United States, and its international affairs.”
In a covering letter, Prof. Weiden promised anonymity to respondents. However, he went on to ask their gender, religion, race, and whether their job interview involved probing questions from the judge about “policy or political issues.”
One question asked whether the law clerks tried to draft judgments, “as if the Justice were writing the opinion himself/herself.” Another inquired as to whether other clerks attached to the same Justice shared common political and legal convictions.
Prof. Weiden did not respond to requests for an interview. However, in a commentary he sent recently to a legal blog, he said that it is not clear to him why the court is blocking his project. He defended his project as “a serious scholarly examination of the role of law clerks at the Supreme Court.
“It is not a ‘tell-all' book or gossip fest, nor will it contain any information about specific cases,” he wrote. “I've interviewed a former Justice at the court, and have also gone through the papers of Justice [Bora] Laskin.”
Mr. Stratas argued that the Supreme Court is a tremendously open operation. “Every hearing, all written submissions and all of the reasons for their decisions are free for the taking on the Internet,” he said. “Everything they do is scrutinized by judges in lower courts, journalists, lawyers and academics, and you can get much of that for free on the Internet.
“The judges readily disclose how they decide cases,” Mr. Stratas said. “You don't need a government grant, you just need to be able to type at a computer.”
Prof. Weiden is the co-author of a book about the U.S. Supreme Court, Sorcerers' Apprentices, which included interviews with 150 former law clerks.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
It's all part of the Legal Kartel, Kangaroo courts, secret hearings,
political decisions disguised as legal decisions.
The best legal scholars around cannot predict the outcomes of most Supreme Court decisions, and most of those are simply dismissed without reasons, their reasoning for that is, to ensure that no other court ever made a mistake and it guarantees finality of litigation.
Ontario Courts are crammed with politically appointed judges who make political decisions that frequently not just defy legal logic or legal reasoning and the law but defy what the average person expects of a court, an impartial objective hearing of a dispute.
Ontario is neither objective or impartial and its judges include an "underbelly" of the most vile examples of corrupt humanity that leave a trail of destroyed lives and qualify as the worst child abusers in Canada.
The very worst of the worst are very well know, Mr. Harper only needs to walk a few hundred meters south into the downtown core and speak to the experienced lawyers who have been around a few decades who will speak in confidence and accurately describe the cess pool, called the judiciary of the Ontario Superior Court.
One of the worst insults to justice is the dishonourable Allan Sheffield who has a propensity to flagrantly abuse his judicial descretion that even the most arrogant of judges would find offensive.
The problem is, judges like the corrupt Allan Sheffield get appeals of their decisions heard by Ontario Court of Appeal judges who are politically correct, like Madam Feldman, who has the highest record of Anti-Male decisions in the Ontario Court of Appeal bar none.
Don't expect any of those decisions to ever be heard in the Supreme Court of Canada, that's where the political decisions disguised as legal decisions finally have the lid nailed in the coffin.
Judges use their power to change transcripts and woe betide any "clerk" who spills the beans on a judge.
Mr. Stratas might as well tell us about "strato-cows" that jumped over the
moon, his words have as much value and reality as that of Mr. Gobbels. Its pure
propaganda as exposed by the Judiciary.
If aircraft or operating rooms were operated with the same standard of objectivity as our courts, dam near every patient would die before an operation and most would never survive the operation. Similarly if pilots tried to fly by the seat of their pants in a cloudy sky they too would be guaranteed to spiral out of control within minutes.
The courts have already spiraled into lawlessness and use the likes of Stratus to engage in pure propaganda that NO ONE who has ever been to court, especially any MALE, would ever swallow his pure balony.
According to Stratus
- start quote- “Every hearing, all written submissions and all of the reasons for their decisions are free for the taking on the Internet,” he said. “Everything they do is scrutinized by judges in lower courts, journalists, lawyers and academics, and you can get much of that for free on the Internet.
- end quote -
Most draconian illegal decisions the worst flagrant abuses of judicial descretion, the most corrupt are generally NOT reported or "sanitized" with a judge writing what he wants the record to reflect.
Those decisions are frequently PULLED from CanLii. The same judges make sure, that the transcripts are delayed and delayed, the court reporters make "convenient errors" changing words like "motion" to "pizza" or didnot to did, or failing to put in commas or pauses that can entirely change the meaning of what was said. Judges use their influence in insidious hidden secret ways that only those who are extremely familiar with them can see.
Perhaps Mr. Stratus should stick to writing fiction and fairy tales, its something he very good at.