Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Canada: Letting Convicts Vote by Judicial Fiat

We recently blogged about the fact that activist judges on the European Court of Human Rights have ruled that convicts can vote.

A Canadian friend of ours informs us that this is true in Canada too. In Canada, as in the European Union, this came about by judicial fiat.

There is a huge irony here. The United States pioneered judicial activism. Until the last decade or two one could say that courts in other democracies played a more restrained role, deferring to the elected branches of government.

But the ethos of judicial activism really is more suited to Europe and Canada than the U.S. America has a more democratic, populist and egalitarian political culture, and the excesses of the Supreme Court have met a lot of resistence here — although few if any have been reversed.

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