"Too often law and justice are in a dysfunctional relationship."
Fierce critique from Justice Rosalie Silberman of Canada
I copied and pasted below a section of a fierce critique of those who attack justice. Justice Rosalie Silberman gave the lecture upon receiving the 2023 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medal of Honour from the World Jurist Association]
She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004. She was the first Jewish woman appointed to the Court and a visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School,
Statue of Lady Justice/the Scales of Justice above the Old Bailey courts in London, UK.
As a jurist, woman and Jew, it defined her vision and her passions.
Her views summarise the concerns of many of us. Political views and submission to the government take priority, even if it takes a relentless campaign for the government to gets its own way. Success and failure, winning and losing matter more in the courts than truth and justice.
In her address to the WJA, she pointed out the regressive climate in matters of justice worldwide including Wester countries with a long democratic traditions.
Professor Silberman said:
Regrettably, that regressive climate is where we find ourselves today, especially about the judiciary.
The critics call the good news of an independent judiciary the bad news of judicial autocracy. They call women and minorities seeking the right to be free from discrimination special interest groups seeking to jump the queue. They call efforts to reverse discrimination “reverse discrimination.”
They say courts should only interpret, not make, law, thereby ignoring the entire history of common law. They call the advocates for diversity “biased” and defenders of social stagnation “impartial.”
They prefer ideology to ideas, replacing the exquisite democratic choreography of checks and balances with the myopic march of majoritarianism.
All this has put us at the edge of a global future unlike any I’ve seen in my lifetime.
We’re in a mean-spirited moral free-for-all, a climate polluted by bombastic insensitivity, antisemitism, racism, sexism, islamophobia, homophobia and discrimination generally.
Too often law and justice are in a dysfunctional relationship.
Too often hate kills, truth is homeless, and lives don’t matter.
She told the audience: “ I was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany on July 1, 1946.
My parents, who got married in Poland on Sept. 3, 1939, spent most of the war in concentration camps. Their 2-year-old son and my father’s whole family were murdered at Treblinka.
Miraculously, my parents survived and after the war ended up in Stuttgart, where my father, who was a lawyer, taught himself English and was hired by the Americans as counsel for displaced persons in southwest Germany…
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