Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
19 March 2012

Here in America, we see a Catholic hierarchy all but joining forces with the Republican party to insist on their right to control what is offered as healthcare to their employees in religiously-affiliated schools and hospitals and public services. In Britain, we see a furious campaign to prevent gay couples from having civil marriage licenses, a reform backed by the Conservative prime minister, and both opposition parties. And for much of the moment, this will be what the Church presents to the world: an attempt to control the medical care for women in its employ and its determination to keep homosexuals out of the word “marriage” and, thereby, “family.” – Andrew Sullivan on the Blog, the Dish.

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