Promoting Intimacy and Positive, Healthy, Consenting Adult Sexuality

U.S. vs. Canadian Rights & Freedoms

In the U.S.
The Bush Push Against Individual Rights is Huge Concern
Courts & The Law: The Bush Bench

To hear President Bush tell it, you would think he’s been stymied in his efforts to put a conservative imprint on the federal judiciary, what with the constant “obstructionism” from Senate Democrats. But in fact, Bush-appointed judges already have made their mark on the courts, and before he’s through in 2008, they could unleash a groundswell of conservative jurisprudence that we have not seen in nearly a century.

So far, the Senate has confirmed 39 Bush nominees to federal courts of appeal around the country, helping to create or solidify Republican majorities on all but three of the 12 regional courts. And evidence shows that Bush’s judges already are tilting the scales significantly in a conservative direction.

A new study by nonpartisan academics indicates that Bush’s judges turn out to be more conservative on civil rights, civil liberties, and worker and consumer protections when compared not only with Democratic appointees but also with judges named by previous Republican presidents.

Robert Carp, a professor at the University of Houston, and co-authors Ronald Stidham of Appalachian State University and Kenneth Manning of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, used the common definition of liberals as more protective of individual rights (and conservatives as less so) in their analysis of more than 75,000 opinions published from federal courts since 1933.

“There’s been a quiet, silent revolution going on,” Carp said in an interview. “If you're a conservative, you're going to say, ‘Thank God.’ If you're a liberal, you're going to put your hands over your head and say it’s a nightmare.”

Bush campaigned even more explicitly than previous GOP presidential candidates on a platform of trying to remake the federal bench. He pursued his strategy by turning over the screening of judicial candidates to the conservative Federalist Society and other like-minded interest groups. He also eliminated the American Bar Association’s decades-long role in prescreening nominees — a bugaboo for conservatives ever since the group’s mixed verdict on failed Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork in 1987.

Carp says his study has no political motive. “I'm just calling it the way the data calls it,” he says. He also has no fault with the Bush judges’ qualifications. “These are polished judges who've gotten good ratings from the ABA,” he says. But make no mistake, Carp suggests, about the direction of the federal bench. With two Bush-appointed justices, the Supreme Court may be shifting to the right — giving lower-court judges that much more room to move in the same direction. “If the Supreme Court starts to change,” Carp says, “I think you've got a lot of district court judges who are chomping at the bit.” - Source: Congressional Quarterly May 22, 2006

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Similar to the U.S., it is a bill of rights entrenched in the more recent Constitution of Canada (Constitution Act, 1982). While in some ways it is similar to the U.S., it upholds individual rights far more than in the U.S. It is more similar to the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Supreme Court of Canada has clearly interrupted the Canadian rights as more generous and broad than the U.S. Supreme Court has with the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Freedom of expression in section 2 also has a more wide-ranging scope than the First Amendment to the United States Constitution's freedom of speech.

While the Charter's preamble has recognition for the supremacy of God and the rule of law, these have been controversial and of little legal consequence. In 1999, MP Svend Robinson proposed before the Canadian House of Commons that the Charter be amended to remove the mention of God, as he felt it did not reflect Canada's diversity.

In Canada there is clearly no toleration of the religious right that wants to take away individual freedoms of expression especially in the sexual area because of their view of morality and what is good for everyone else, even non Christians. Ironically there is no biblical justification for many of the religious right's views, especially on sexuality. It is based on Church traditions, agenda driven translations not on what the bible actually says in the language and culture of the time.

This religious interference is not tolerated in Canadian Law. We have to look North to find the "land of the free", as well as most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand etc for sexual freedoms denied in the U.S. based on the religious right's agenda and power in making laws in the U.S.

When I posted this on a Canadian board, everyone agreed about the more sexual rights in Canada. But the Canadian system is worse in other areas. For example they have no right to buy private health insurance which many want due to the slowness in getting some treatments and tests under their National Health Plan.

At least Canada has money to fix such problems. Their latest $12 Billion budget surplus exceeded expectations and they have now had 9 years of budget surpluses. On the other hand, taxes are generally higher than in the U.S.

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