National Post

Page URL: http://www.nationalpost.com/commentary.asp?s2=letters&f=990729/Letters.html

Thursday, July 29, 1999

Ripostes

Re: Who Runs Canada? July 24.

Neil Seeman quotes Prof. Ian Hunter as saying that the Supreme Court justices hire new clerks from the Dean's List and that the Dean's List is awarded predominantly to people with a particular ideological view. The latter part of this statement is without foundation and lacks proof. It is not true of this law school nor, I venture to suggest, of any other law school in the country. Placement on the Dean's List is awarded to students who demonstrate outstanding academic proficiency and the students' ideological bent (of whatever kind) is totally irrelevant.

[letter seems incomplete, Post did not deliver my paper copy that morning]


Letters, July 28.

When the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court breaks with "practice" to respond to an article with a letter to the editor, you'd guess it was something truly significant that compels him. So, let's see what the fuss was about:

Justice Lamer takes serious issue with Neil Seeman for saying he was critical of [the government] and says his exact words on the subject were: "It's not for me to criticize legislators, but if they choose not to legislate, that's their doing." I see.

How could this possibly be construed as "critical?" I'd have one of my clerks look up the dictionary definitions of the following words: "irony", "innuendo" and "implication."

This is an example of the arcane hairsplitting that's making the court a standing joke among the public and not an insignificant number of lawyers. It shows a prickly arrogance on the part of an increasingly publicity-seeking court, happy to pronounce and criticize, reluctant to be second-guessed.

The court seemed most anxious to "go public." Welcome to the arena of public debate.

Paul Alisauskas, Barrister & Solicitor, Owen Sound, Ont


In Neil Seeman's article about the Supreme Court of Canada, I stated that a 1999 graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario was to take up a position as judicial law clerk to Madam Justice L'Heureux-Dube of the Supreme Court. This statement, I regret, was inaccurate. The graduate in question is to become one of the clerks for Mr. Justice Frank Iacobucci.

Robert Martin, Professor of Law emeritus, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.

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