Book Review: Christopher Manfredi and Mark Rush, Judging Democracy
7 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2009
Date Written: April 2, 2009
This review considers the authors' case that contrary to the claims of some Canadian legal scholars the jurisprudence of the supreme courts of Canada and the United States do not betray a radical difference with respect to the balance of communitarian and individualist political philosophy prevailing in each country. The review suggests that post-1960's Canadian nationalism explains why the scholars discussed in this book have been prone to making ideological claims about the nature of Canadian political culture which are not warranted by a careful study of the relevant cases. The suggestion is that the judicial scholarship which the book's authors show to be misleading, which is to say scholarship which claims to perceive a greater role for communitarian values in Canada than in the United States, should be seen against the backdrop of the rise of Tory touch thesis concerning the nature of Canadian political culture. This thesis, usually associated with names like Louis Hartz, Gad Horowitz and George Grant maintains that pure Lockeanism has had a more limited appeal in Canada than in the United States. The review takes the occasion to suggest that this tendency of Canadian constitutional scholarship is a reflection of the fact that the Tory touch approach has become something of an orthodoxy in Canadian political science since the 1960's. Manfredi and Rush's discussion of recent scholarly exaggerations of the differences between Canadian and American jurisprudence with respect to the absolute nature of individual rights is taken as a reflection of the power of this orthodoxy to extend beyond the political science field.
Keywords: Judiciary, Charter of Rights, Constitutional Law, Canada-U.S., Monahan, Tory Communitarianism, Individualism
JEL Classification: K10, K30, N31, N32, N40,N41,N42,N91,N92,P14,P37,Z0
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