The Supreme Court on Trial: Judicial Activism or Democratic Dialogue

The Supreme Court on Trial: Judicial Activism or Democratic Dialogue

by Kent Roach

Paperback(Revised ed.)



The Supreme Court of Canada has been accused of usurping Canadian democracy on a long list of divisive topics, including assisted dying, sex work, supervised injection sites, same-sex marriage, labour relations, election spending, and health care policy. Some critics claim that the nine unelected judges on Canada's highest Court have used the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to impose their own views on public policy over those of elected governments. This book joins the crucial debate about the Charter, the Court, and Canadian democracy, and was shortlisted for the Donner Prize in public policy when originally published. Some of the questions that Kent Roach considers in this important and timely book include: What is judicial activism? Is the Charter making us more like America, where the political nature of the judges appointed to the Court has become critical? Can judges simply read their own political preferences into the Charter? Are judges captive to special interests? What can governments and people do when they think the Court has got it wrong? This revised edition updates the continued dialogue between the Court and Canadian governments and society over Charter issues, including recent dialogues about assisted dying and supervised injection sites. It also responds to criticisms from some commentators that the dialogue between courts and the government is a fraudulent and undemocratic monologue, and from others who believe that this dialogue can undermine the rule of law. In short, The Supreme Court on Trial makes an important contribution to understanding the role of the Court and the Charter in our democracy.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781552214381
Publisher: Irwin Law
Publication date: 09/28/2016
Edition description: Revised ed.
Pages: 528
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the First Edition ix

Preface to the Revised Edition xi

Part 1 What is judicial Activism? 1

1 The Supreme Court on Trial 3

2 The Endless American Debate 17

3 Judicial Activism before the Charter 39

4 The Charter's Influential Response to Judicial Activism 59

5 An American Debate Comes to Canada 79

6 Four Dimensions of Judicial Activism 111

Part 2 The Extent of Judicial Activism 129

7 The Constrained Creativity of Judicial Law Making 131

8 The Limits of Public Law Adjudication 161

9 Judicial Acceptance of Limits on Rights 175

10 Dialogue between Courts and Legislatures 197

Part 3 Beyond Judicial Activism 231

11 The Myths of judicial Activism 233

12 The Myths of Right Answers 253

13 Democratic Dialogue in Theory 269

14 Democratic Dialogue in Practice 285

15 Judicial Activism and Democratic Dialogue 325

16 Dialogue in Practice: 2001-2016 335

17 Dialogue in Theory: A Response to Critics 383

Acknowledgements 429

Notes 431

Index 501

Customer Reviews