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One News Now: Trinity Western University in British Columbia Bar has sued associations in three Canadian provinces because they have voted to not recognize attorneys who graduate from the Christian university’s future law school. This week, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled that that province’s bar association is out of line and is discriminating on the basis of religion.
Space enough for all: Nova Scotia Supreme Court makes decision on Trinity Western University Law School
Canadian Council of Christian Charities: People disagree about many things in a pluralistic and multicultural society such as Canada. But perhaps the most passionate debate in recent years is found among those caught in a controversy involving religion and sexuality.
Law and Religion Australia: In a previous post I noted the ongoing controversy over whether Trinity Western University, in British Columbia, Canada, can train lawyers who will be able to practice in Canada. TWU as a Christian University requires its students to agree to comply with a Code of Conduct, part of which bans all sexual intimacy outside the traditional marriage between a man and woman.
CBCNews: The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has struck down a decision by the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society to deny graduates of British Columbia’s Trinity Western University the right to practise law in the Maritime province.
Times Colonist: Nova Scotia’s law society doesn’t have the authority to deny accrediting graduates from a Christian university because of the school’s policy prohibiting sexual intimacy outside marriages between men and women, the province’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
CBC News: Graduates of the law school at B.C.’s Trinity Western University will be able to practise in New Brunswick, as a move to rescind their future accreditation failed to pass today.
Toronto Suns: Members of the B.C. Law Society have asked their governing body to overturn a decision to accredit graduates from Trinity Western University’s law program.
Wall Street Journal: What exactly is a parody? It’s a question that the nation which gave us surrealism would love to know the answer to – and the the European Court of Justice, Europe’s highest court, has come up with one.
The Globe and Mail: “The seven-month struggle over the Supreme Court appointment of Justice Marc Nadon of Quebec is over – for the country and for the 64-year-old judge. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Tuesday that he accepts last week’s Supreme Court ruling that his latest appointee is ineligible.”
The Globe and Mail: “The Conservative government is refusing to close the door to reappointing Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada, a move that would pit the government against the country’s top judges.”
The Globe and Mail: “After sitting in limbo for months, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s latest appointee to the Supreme Court of Canada, Justice Marc Nadon, will learn on Friday whether his prospective new colleagues deem him legally qualified for the job.”
The Guardian: “Spain’s MPs voted on Tuesday to push forward with a bill that limits the power of Spanish judges to pursue criminal cases outside the country, a move that human rights organisations said would end Spain’s leading role as an enforcer of international justice.”
Ottawa Citizen: “Two former Supreme Court of Canada justices delivered conflicting views on Friday on whether Quebec’s proposed secular charter would hold up in court.”
The Globe and Mail: “The fundamental argument seems to be that since TWU law graduates will be trained in an environment disapproving of homosexuality, they can be presumed to graduate as disapproving of homosexuality. They therefore must be incapable of serving as lawyers for homosexuals. This argument is nonsense.”
Eugene Kontorovich at The Volokh Conspiracy: In my new paper, Three International Courts and Their Constitutional Problems, forthcoming in the Cornell Law Review and just posted on SSRN, I explore the constitutional objections to the IPC and relate them to the ICC, which has some of the same difficulties, but magnified by an anti-reservation rule that prevents papering over constitutional difficulties.
Jakarta Globe: “The Supreme Court penalized nearly every judge at the Religious Affairs Court in Ponorogo district, East Java, on Tuesday for allowing members of an unrecognized bar association to practice law in the court, according to reports in local media.”
The Star-Ledger: “Instead, he spoke for seven minutes before the official swearing-in of Justice Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina, the first high court appointee Senate Democrats have supported during a two-year standoff with the governor.”
The Globe and Mail: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s newest choice for the Supreme Court of Canada ran into a wall of skepticism at a hearing into the federal government’s interpretation of the law governing appointments. In a case with no precedent in the Supreme Court’s 139-year history, seven judges were put in the extraordinary position of having to judge a prospective new member, Justice Marc Nadon, a 64-year-old judge with a conservative bent.”
AP: Erdogan insists the corruption charges are a conspiracy orchestrated by followers of an Islamic movement who he says have infiltrated the police and judiciary. He has vowed to fight back; the government has already removed hundreds of police officers from key posts.
AP: Hundreds of British lawyers – many dressed in traditional white curled wigs and black gowns – swapped courtrooms for picket lines Monday to protest planned cuts to legal aid.
BBC: Canada’s first faith-based law school has been approved over objections from gay-rights advocates and hundreds of law students. Trinity Western University’s code of conduct states students can be expelled if they have same-sex relationships. Critics say the law school will produce lawyers with an anti-gay bias in a country with anti-discrimination laws and legal gay marriage.
The Christian Institute: High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge has been disciplined for media comments he made in support of marriage – but he says the response is “disproportionate”.
The Hillhttp://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/193439-gop-balks-at-obamas-human-rights-nominee: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday is scheduled to tackle the nomination of Keith Harper to become the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Harper was a major donor to Obama’s reelection effort in 2012.
The Globe and Mail: Today, the Criminal Code of Canada still tells us that sex where there has been an exchange of money – sex work – is bad sex. When the Supreme Court of Canada releases its decision on Friday, it has the opportunity to focus its analysis on the harms caused by the criminalization of sex work, instead of sending messages about good sex and bad sex. What side of history will the Court be on?
Religion Clause Blog: In Canada, Trinity Western University, a Christian liberal arts university in British Columbia, cleared a major hurdle this week in its bid to open the country’s first private religious law school. In a December 16 press release, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada announced that it has granted preliminary approval for the school’s program
Christian Institute: A senior High Court judge has defended his view that couples should ‘seriously consider’ marriage if they are to have children. In a piece for the Daily Mail, Sir Paul Coleridge said “Far from being old-fashioned, marriage is an engine for social progress, the most effective structure ever invented for nurturing children and building social solidarity.”
PressTV: Britain could sue the European Union for overstepping its legal powers, the government’s chief legal adviser has warned.
AP: Judiciary officials say two icons of Egypt’s 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak have been sent to trial on charges of taking part in an “illegal” protest and allegedly assaulting policemen.
Guardian: The law should be changed to make it clear that British courts are not obliged to implement judgments of the European court of human rights (ECHR), according to the former lord chief justice.
AP: Nigeria’s military is recommending immediate trial for 500 suspected extremist militants and the president is promising an economic boost for the northeast region confronting an Islamic uprising – both issues that address concerns expressed by the United States.
Voice of America: China’s top court has ruled out forced confessions and vowed to reduce miscarriage of justice, in a move that highlights increasing policy emphasis on legal reform.
AP: The International Criminal Court’s vexed relationship with Africa took center stage Wednesday on the opening day of the annual summit of its 122 member states.
Guardian: Britain is now a secular society, he said, and religion has no special privilege beyond what it is granted by human rights legislation. This was widely reported as claiming that the law no longer has any business enforcing morality. I have now read his speech carefully and I am not at all certain that this is what he said – and if it’s what he meant he is clearly wrong and his own speech proves it. Judges, he thinks, are very much in the business of enforcing morality, and so they ought to be.
Religion Clause Blog: British media are giving significant coverage to Tuesday’s address by a senior judge, Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division, to a Law Society Conference. His remarks, titled Law Morality and Religion in the Family Courts, trace changes in the role judges assign to religion . . .
AP: The United Nations’ top human rights official is accusing the Maldives’ Supreme Court of interfering excessively in the country’s presidential elections.
AP: A Saudi Arabian court sentenced a prominent lawyer to three months in prison on Tuesday, a rights group said, while the same day a Saudi writer was released from jail after being investigated for blasphemy.
AP: Argentina’s Supreme Court has upheld the country’s four-year-old broadcast media law, deciding that it’s constitutional to force private news media groups to break themselves apart if they exceed newly imposed audience limits.
AP: The judges presiding over the trial of leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood stepped down from the proceedings Tuesday because security agencies would not allow the defendants to attend in court, apparently out of fear of protests, judicial officials said.
Christian Concern: A motion to end the traditional practice of swearing on the Bible in court has been rejected by the Magistrates’ Association during its annual meeting in Cardiff this week.
Eugene Kontorovich at Volokh Conspiracy: African Union leaders met in an extraordinary summit in Adas Ababa last week to discuss their strained relations with the International Criminal Court (ICC), as it begins trying its first sitting head of state, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya . . .
CBC.ca: Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in a bind. Earlier this month he named Justice Marc Nadon, 64, to the Supreme Court of Canada. Days later, Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati challenged the appointment and last week the Quebec government announced it too would contest Nadon’s eligibility
EFC Blog: I’m writing this while on VIA Rail to Toronto. After Wednesday’s debate about whether a Canadian Christian university can establish a law school with Clayton Ruby on Q with Jian Ghomeshi, I find myself a Christian out in public with an old Johnny Cash song running through my head – “I’m gonna break my rusty cage …”
Christian Institute: The Magistrates’ Association will debate the idea in a meeting later this month, despite the existence of alternative promises for those who don’t want to swear on the Bible.
CBC.ca: Galati says only judges from Quebec’s appeals or superior courts, or lawyers who have belonged to the province’s bar for at least 10 years, can be appointed to the Supreme Court.
Christian Concern: The practice of swearing on the Bible in court could be banned as magistrates open debate on whether to ban the oath for both witnesses and defendants.
AP: A Japanese court on Monday ordered a group of anti-Korean activists to pay a Korean school in Kyoto 12 million yen ($120,000) in compensation for disturbing classes and scaring children by holding “hate speech” rallies outside the school.
The Independent: Britain’s most senior female judge has expressed disappointment at the failure of her male colleagues to promote another woman to the top of the judiciary.
Globe and Mail: A number of legal commentators have expressed dismay at the reports that former Supreme Court justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé has signed a petition in support of the much-maligned Charter of Quebec Values, a highly problematic law that, if passed, would prohibit public servants from wearing “overt” religious clothing or symbols at work.
Montreal Gazette: Prime Minister Stephen Harper dipped into the ranks of the Federal Court of Appeal on Monday to nominate Justice Marc Nadon to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court of Canada.
AP: China’s notoriously opaque courts have suddenly embraced social media to provide a window into their proceedings, to boost a skeptical public’s confidence in the country’s Communist Party-controlled legal system.
The Globe and Mail: Ever since Prime Minister Stephen Harper passed over several talented female candidates for a spot on the Supreme Court a year ago, many in Quebec’s legal community have been wondering if he would restore the court’s previous gender balance
Religion Clause Blog: Google announced yesterday that it has launched Constitute, a new website, created by theComparative Constitutions Project that digitizes and makes searchable the world’s 160 national constitutions.
Religion Clause Blog: AFP reports that for the first time in over ten years, a court in Yemen has sentenced a defendant convicted of robbery to the punishment of amputation, as prescribed by shariah law.
AP: In a setback for Western efforts to tighten sanctions against Iran, a top European Union court on Friday threw out penalties imposed on several Iranian businesses for their alleged ties to the country’s disputed nuclear program.
AP: The International Criminal Court has only indicted Africans, a fact that has opened the court to severe criticism on the continent. The chairman of the African Union earlier this year said that ICC prosecutions “have degenerated into some kind of race hunt.”
Ambrus, Monika, The European Court of Human Rights and Standards of Proof in Religion Cases (July 16, 2013). 8 Religion and Human Rights 2 (2013), pp. 107-137, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2294499
F.H. Buckley at National Post: Notwithstanding puffery about the United States being “the greatest country on earth,” Canadians actually rank higher than Americans on most objective measures of the goods of this world, including longevity, wealth and income mobility. Canadians also have fewer of the bad things: government deficits, income inequality and murders. In addition, Canadians have more political freedom than Americans, according to think tanks that measure such things.
AP: A woman who became a symbol for the groundswell of opposition to China’s labor camp system scored a rare victory Monday in an appeal for compensation in a case that generated a huge public outcry.
Religion Clause Blog: In Israel, government-appointed judges of rabbinical courts have jurisdiction over issues of Jewish marriage and divorce in the country. The rabbinical court judges are chosen by the Selection Committee for Rabbinical Judges.
UKConstitutionallaw.org: Much progress has been made following the agreement of the Brighton Declaration on reforms to the working practices of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The Brighton Ministerial Conference in April 2012 prompted renewed reflections on the role and legitimacy of the ECtHR itself.
‘Evolving standards’ of international law should overturn anti-sodomy law: Belize lawsuit | Piero Tozzi
Piero Tozzi at LifeSiteNews: Ten years ago, the late, great American jurist Robert Bork wrote a short book entitled Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges. He described how the “American disease” of judicial legislating—activists using constitutional courts “to outflank majorities and nullify their votes” on controversial social issues—was becoming a global phenomenon.
Piero Tozzi at Turtle Bay and Beyond: Ten years ago, the late, great American jurist Robert Bork wrote a short book entitled Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges. He described how the “American disease” of judicial legislating—activists using constitutional courts “to outflank majorities and nullify their votes” on controversial social issues—was becoming a global phenomenon.
AP: In the judiciary’s latest face-off with Egypt’s Islamist rulers, the country’s top council of judges decided Wednesday to suspend its participation in a government-backed judicial reform conference following a renewed push by lawmakers on a controversial bill that would force thousands of their colleagues into retirement.
Christian Institute: An MP has praised a cross-bench Peer’s attempts to curb the growth of quasi-legal systems in the UK, which discriminate against women.
AP: A Pakistani court on Tuesday banned former military ruler Pervez Musharraf from running for public office for the rest of his life, the latest blow since he returned from exile last month to make a political comeback.
Austin Ruse at C-FAM: The proposed code also addresses the outsize influence of the UN bureaucracy and non-governmental organizations on treaty bodies. Over the past fifteen years, the commissions have succumbed to pressure to promote abortion on demand as well as special rights for homosexuals, though no human rights agreement mentions either. The nature of treaty bodies compounds the influence that the UN bureaucracy and nongovernmental organizations exert on human rights monitoring.
AP: The legal adviser of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi resigned Tuesday, alleging that the Muslim Brotherhood has monopolized decision-making and encroached on the governing of the country.
Boston Globe (AP): Egypt’s main opposition group and judges vowed Monday to step up their fight against plans by the Islamist-dominated legislature to debate a bill critics say aims to impose Muslim Brotherhood control over the courts.