Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges

Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges

Judge Robert H. Bork will deliver the Barbara Frum Historical Lecture at the University of Toronto in March 2002. This annual lecture “on a subject of contemporary history in historical perspective” was established in memory of Barbara Frum and will be broadcast on the CBC Radio program Ideas.In Coercing Virtue, former US solicitor general Robert H. Bork examines judicial activism and the practice of many courts as they consider and decide matters that are not committed to their authority. In his opinion, this practice infringes on the legitimate domains of the executive and legislative branches of government and constitutes a judicialization of politics and morals. Should courts be used as a vehicle of social change even if the majority view weighs against the court’s ruling? And if we allow courts to make law, especially in a country like Canada where our Supreme Court judges aren’t even elected, then what does this mean for democratic government?“The nations of the West have long been afraid of catching the “American disease” — the seizure by judges of authority properly belonging to the people and their elected representatives. Those nations are learning, perhaps too late, that this imperialism is not an American disease; it is a judicial disease, one that knows no boundaries.” — Robert H. Bork, from Coercing VirtueFrom the Trade Paperback edition.

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