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The Most Dangerous Branch: How the Supreme Court of Canada Has Undermined Our Law and Our Democracy Hardcover – Nov 19 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press; Canadian First edition (Nov. 19 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0773526145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0773526143
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 581 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #830,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
Despite the fact that, every year, judgments of the Supreme Court take up thousands of pages in the law reports, it is difficult to continue describing the court's annual production as "law." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Leonardo Russomanno on May 9 2004
Format: Hardcover
Martin clearly comes from the old school mode of thought, in many instances a quick glance into the notes of the book weakens his arguments. The reader should be reminded that Martin is commenting on the way the court reaches its decisions and not necessarily the result.
The chapter dealing with the influence of feminism on the courts is particularly illuminating. Despite my wide disagreement with the author on many issues, I found myself agreeing with his complaints that the courts decisionmaking is often long winded and confusing, heavily influenced by outside sources. Essentially, to borrow a phrase from the book, they are making it up as they go along. I recommend it to anyone interested in Canadian constitutional law.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Vogrincic on Oct. 4 2004
Format: Hardcover
I first became acquainted with Robert Ivan Martin by hearing him on talk shows. He came across as profoundly informed, knowledgeable and deeply concerned about the state of democracy in Canada. I couldn't wait to read his book and it certainly is an eye opener. For anyone seriously interested in how damaging the Court is to the democratic process, this book is a must read. I sincerely hope that a follow up book by the professor will someday be published.
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Format: Hardcover
In The Most Dangerous Branch, Robert Martin delivers a scathing indictment of the Supreme Court of Canada. The book examines the ways in which judges have hijacked the legal system: they have turned the law into their own personal plaything; they have deliberately and unilaterally expanded thier own authority; and they have attempted to set the social agenda in Canada. Martin argues that, becuase they are not elected representatives of the people, they have no right to do any of these things.
This book is about abuse of power. Martin is primarily concerned with how decisions are reached by the Supreme Court. He argues that Supreme Court decisions are largely based on the whim of judges, rather than the law. He illustrates this point brilliantly with an exhaustive array of examples that are sometimes amusing and often alarming. In reading the book, I found myself asking, how could these things happen?
Supreme Court judges are meant to strive to be impartial, or, at least, to create the appearance of being impartial. Martin demonstrates how they done just the opposite by aligning themselves with identity groups and by publicizing, and even celebrating, their partisan views on political issues. Their handling of the Constitution and the Charter, Martin argues, is equally biased. They have appointed themselves as interpreters of both documents, often "reading in" laws and/or rights that do not exist.
Martin's book is expertly written and his arguments are well documented. His prose is clear and direct. At times, he is vitriolic and hyperbolic, which inevitably will be seen by some as a weakness. However, I think that Martin is at his best in these passages because his words betray in him a true passion for honesty, integrity, and the law.
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