Posted by: nastylittletruths | August 4, 2008

Christian Right In The Judiciary?

Was I reading right in last Friday’s Guardian? High Court Judge Herbert Volney, in offering an explanation to not being promoted to the Court of Appeal, making some disturbing allegations about a “Christian Right in the Judiciary”? Responding to the initial story that he and four others were ‘bypassed’ for promotion, he said that it wasn’t entirely correct since he had expressed to the Chief Justice that he did not want to be considered for promotion.

In his typical style, Justice Volney said that it was unlikely that he would have been considered in the first place since “you must be of the Christian Right, seen to be involved whether as Chancellor, Pastor or singer of all the Psalms in the incantations of religious fervour, you must know your benediction and must be known for your piety”

Nearly a week ago I wrote on this blog about Christian Fundamentalism and the nagging sense that the Prime Minister and his handpicked Cabinet members (who never faced the electorate) have a vein of similarity in their behaviour that leaves you with an unsettling feeling. Is there also a conspiracy for the Executive to control the Judiciary simply through commonality of religious views?

If the comments above by Justice Volney were like body blows, the knockout punch has to be “that you must never express and independent viewpoint even though it may be the correct one.” I pray and hope that Justice Volney was wrong, but more than that, hope that there are more independent judges than him and the other four – Carlton Best, Rajendra Narine, Humphrey Stollmeyer and Gregory Smith. I certainly hope that if I do end up in court it’s in front of an independent judge and not one who heeds a higher calling than the law of the land.

Oh yes… another reason to retain the Privy Council as our final court of appeal. At least they remember the struggle to establish the people’s sovereignty over the law and not the other way around. Ask and any first year law reader will recite with enthusiastic fervour the basic tenet of law being the people’s shield from tyranny – the exact opposite of what it’s usually used for – a weapon wielded by government against the people. Let me be bold enough to remind all our judges of that principle, one held as true by members of their profession.

Somebody, anybody, please come forward and shake these dark images from our minds. We hear also of the AG and the CJ continuing discussions on a “constitution”, but that’s another story.

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