Some of you will, no doubt, have been following the Lori Douglas hearing. For those of you who haven’t, Lori Douglas is the Associate Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba whose husband posted pictures online of her “engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys and performing oral sex” and, apparently, peeing on grass (for a full description, accompanied by David Lat’s editorializing, but not the pictures themselves, see the Above the Law’s post on the topic). He also, apparently, tried (without her knowledge) to arrange for a client, Mr Chapman, to have sex with her. Mr. Chapman has since complained and Justice Douglas has been dragged before the Canadian Judicial Council (the “CJC”), and threatened with removal from the bench.
Suffice to say, it’s a sordid story.
Personally, I think the fact that Justice Douglas has been dragged before the CJC is an outrage. By all credible accounts (Mr. Chapman’s account being, in my view, utterly unbelievable), the only thing she did wrong was let her husband (who she presumably loved and trusted) take naughty pictures of her. It doesn’t sound like she had anything to do with Mr. Chapman. The pictures were apparently posted online by her husband without her consent. That’s unfortunate, but it’s hard to hold that against her. In that respect she’s a victim (and, frankly, the only real victim here).
Mind you, for some of her critics, the mere fact that she engaged in the activities in those pictures, and failed to disclose that fact when she was appointed, is enough to cause her to be removed from the bench. Take Georgialee Lang’s post on the topic – in her view, Justice Douglas’ failure to disclose her sexual proclivities, and the fact that they were published online, is grounds enough for her to get the boot:
How is it possible that Judge Douglas did not consider that the events involving the publication of pornographic photos of her and the related fall-out involving her husband and Alex Chapman would not reflect negatively on her or the judiciary as a whole?
Apparently she thinks this situation is analogous to the case of Justice Therrien, formerly of the Court of Quebec, who failed to disclose a prior criminal conviction for playing a (admitedly minor) role in sheltering a FLQ terrorist. Now, it must be said, there appears to be evidence that, it fact, Justice Douglas’ situation was known to the judicial appointment committee, and was discussed with her when she was appointed, so the entire premise of Ms. Lang’s criticism may well be wrong. But let’s take her criticism on it’s face, would the fact that Justice Douglas liked getting freaky, and that there might be online evidence of it, reflect negatively on her or the judiciary as a whole? Does that make her unfit to be a judge?
Umm… no. First off, the comparison with Justice Therrien is waaaay off-base. Failing to disclose a criminal conviction, that’s a problem (especially, in Justice Therrien’s case, where he had previously been rejected as a judge because of that conviction). Failing to disclose that you’re into kinky sex… um… not quite the same thing. Note to Ms. Lee “engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys and performing oral sex” isn’t illegal. Porn isn’t illegal. Nudity isn’t illegal. , Peeing on a lawn… well… if it’s your own lawn, I suppose that’s ok (and, what, is anyone under the illusion that judges don’t pee?). Hiding a terrorist (even in a minor role), that’s a problem. That’s not a minor difference.
Second, and more to the point, is the mere fact that Justice Douglas appears in pornographic pictures likely to reflect negatively on her or the judiciary? Let’s be honest here. Does anyone think that Lori Douglas is the only judge out there who has engaged in the activities contained in her pictures? No judge has every given (or received) a blowjob? No judge owns a vibrator or other sex toys? Yeah, right! If true, no wonder they’re sometimes so cranky.
I don’t want to be the one to tell Ms. Lang, but the judicial population of Canada is sufficiently large that it will invariably contain its share of
perverts sexually adventurous people. By my count, in Ontario alone, between the Superior Court and the Ontario Court of Justice, there are almost 600 judges. Who knows what weirdness some of them might be into. Statistically, there’s a pretty good chance that at least one of them gets their rocks off by being spanked by a woman in a kangaroo costume while singing “La Marseillaise” (I believe the Aussies call that a “Naughty Joey”). Does Ms. Lee think that all 600 of those judges have disclosed (or should have to disclose) the kinky shit that they’re into? Could you imagine what the application form to be a judge would look like if such disclosure was necessary. I can see it now:
Please identify which (if any) of the following prescribed sexual activities you have engaged in: (i) a Sudbury Beaver, (ii) a Three Men and a Tulip, (iii) a Western Whistler…… (dxxxiii) a San Antonio Snowflake….
The form would be thicker than a phone book. Shit, it would be faster just to give them a link to the Urban Dictionary and ask them “have you ever done anything described there”.
Personally, I don’t much care what judges do in their spare time. If they know their law, can distinguish shit from shinola on the witness stand, and can write pithy, timely, judgements, what they do in their bedroom (or on their lawn) is none of my business. None of Ms. Lang’s either.
So here’s hoping that Justice Douglas get’s cleared by the CJC.