Category Archives: law

Bradley Miller, Judged

civil rights, culture, law, Philosophy of Law, politics Leave a reply

Professor Bradley Miller has been appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, effective January 16th, 2015. His bio there states that “his main areas of practice were commercial litigation, class actions, administrative law, constitutional law and human rights law”. And yet it would seem that his understanding of human rights is less than complete.

In an article written two years ago in Public Discourse, (Same-Sex Marriage Ten Years On: Lessons from Canada), Miller makes a range of claims that are supportable only if one believes that the right to tear down others is more valuable to society at large than the right to not be torn down.

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Overtime, Wages and Theft

civil rights, crapitalism, economics, ethics, law Leave a reply

I know a number of people here in Vancouver working in restaurants and bars, and the prevalence of unlawful behaviour is just astounding. Of course, I don’t mean the staff stealing from employers, but employers just stealing wholesale from the staff.

While BC has some fairly mediocre labour laws, it has labour laws that employers are obligated to abide by. Unfortunately, as the laws are civil in nature (rather than criminal), the enforcement of these laws falls on the shoulders of the employees: if the staff don’t report the breach to the Employment Standards Branch, then the company happily trundles on, stealing from the employees.

This isn’t theft, you say? Since the staff have implicitly agreed to this state of affairs, it’s no-one else’s business to intervene? I’m sure that it’s possible that you could be more wrong about this, but it’s not obvious how. Allow me to explain.

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The Ethical Failing of the Law Society of British Columbia

civil rights, culture, Education, law, Philosophy of Law Leave a reply

Trinity Western University (TWU) is a University in British Columbia that explicitly holds certain Christian creeds at its foundation. In their own words, they hold a “Christ-centred approach to education”, whatever that means. They have been in the news recently as they’ve started a law school on their premises, and it has come to the attention of Canadians that this school forbids sexual intimacy (i.e. sex) between people who aren’t 1) married, and 2) of opposite sex (for the purposes of this essay I won’t be going the problems with a worldview that only recognises the existence of two sexes in a strict binary sense). It’s worth noting that their policy is not only homophobic, but it also impacts anyone who is heterosexual, in a relationship, but not married. But, of course, that second part is entirely minor, and (in practice) doesn’t discriminate against an entire class of already-oppressed people.

Various law societies around Canada have voted to determine if they will recognise the accreditation from TWU, and the response has been mixed. Nova Scotia’s law society, for example, has rightly agreed to accredit if and only if the school drops the discrimination against non-binary, non-heterosexual people. Ontario’s law society has simply refused to recognise the accreditation. Meanwhile, the Law Society of British Columbia has agreed to recognise this accreditation. Reviewing this opinion piece by Tony Wilson, a member who voted in favour of accepting the accreditation of TWU’s law school, should be instructive in understanding the ethical failings of a law degree.

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Georgia Police Kill Diabetic Black Man After Family Calls 911 Requesting Ambulance

civil rights, culture, law Leave a reply

I don’t have anything to add to this, I just want to spread the awareness around.

Alicia Herron, Roberson’s fiancé and girlfriend of 10 years, says she called 911 to request an ambulance for Roberson out of concern for his diabetic condition. But police arrived at their home instead.

Arguably, a simple mistake on the part of the dispatcher (which would be bad enough, if the person were in critical condition). What follows is, frankly, shocking.

“He didn’t have nothing in his hands at any time or period at all before they came, any time while they were here, anything. They just came in and shot him. He didn’t say nothing, the police didn’t say nothing, anything, it was like a silent movie. You couldn’t hear anything, all you could hear were the gun shots go off and I seen them going into his body and he just fell down,” Roberson’s grief-stricken fiancé  told First Coast News.

Read the whole thing at Dispatches From The Underclass

 

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The Death Penalty, Deterrence in Practice

civil rights, Conceits, culture, ethics, law, philosophy, politics Leave a reply

In Part 1 of this series, I dealt with the plausibility of the model in favour of Deterrence. But let’s forget all about that for a moment. Let’s put aside all the science behind our decision processes, how the human brain works, and all of that stuff. Like Deterrence-advocates, let’s pretend that science hasn’t moved since, I don’t know, the early 1900s.

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The Death Penalty, Deterrence in Principle

civil rights, Conceits, culture, law, philosophy, politics Leave a reply

This is going to be the first part of a four-part series on the death penalty, There are two main arguments trotted out in favour, both of which I feel fail to be convincing. I’ll get to them, but first I need to sketch out some philosophical/ethical commitments. It helps to get these out of the way, as if you disagree with these commitments, it helps identify where we diverge in the argument.

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