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
17 May 2007

Jerry Falwell, homophobe, is dead

The Televangelist, Jerry Falwell, died this week. He was quite a nasty piece of work – even for a Televangelist. Some of his choice quotes:

“Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions”

“Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them”

“If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being”

“AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals”

After the September 11 attacks Falwell said, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.”

“[Homosexuals are] brute beasts…part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven.”

The writer and journalist Christopher Hitchens, who has just published a book against religion called God is Not Great: How religion Poisons Everything, appeared on CNN after Falwell’s death and delivered the most extraordinary broadside against him and against religion. He points out that Falwell was anti-semitic and homophobic and says people like that should be in the street with a cardboard sign selling pencils. A must see for people who are sceptical of religion, so I post the clip below. Not for the religiously squeamish…

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