Last night, recently-retired Supreme Court Justice Marshall Rothstein delivered a public lecture at the University of Saskatchewan. To say that it was interesting would be a gross understatement. Rothstein commented at length on the perils of judicial activism, arguing that interpretations of the constitution should largely be driven by text and purpose, and casting doubt on the idea that the provisions of the Charter should be treated as a « living tree ». Along the way, he discussed the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Heller (concerning the scope of the Second Amendment), and the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisions in BC Trial Lawyers Association and Saskatchewan Federation of Labour – both of which featured a dissenting opinion by him. His point was, in large part, that judges who subscribe to either liberal or conservative political ideologies may engage in judicial activism, and that in either case it is deeply problematic. Rothstein’s lecture will ultimately be printed in the Saskatchewan Law Review. If you can’t wait that long, though, I live-tweeted the lecture, and this morning storified it. You can find it here.


Michael Plaxton
Michael Plaxton is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. His research focuses on criminal law, constitutional law, and legal philosophy. His book, Implied Consent and Sexual Assault, published by McGill-Queen's University Press, is now available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelPlaxton.

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