The Reasonable Justice: An Empirical Analysis of Justice Frank Iacobucci's Career on the Supreme Court of Canada
University of Toronto Law Journal, Vol. 57, p. 195, 2007
32 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2007
There are two widely shared views of Frank Iacobucci as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. The first is that he was a liberally inclined justice, particularly in the area of criminal law. That he has conventionally been regarded as a liberal despite being appointed in 1991 by the Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney raises a number of questions. Is this conventional view of Justice Iacobucci actually correct? That is, is it borne out by his voting record over his more than thirteen years on the Court? If so, does this 'left of centre' claim hold fast beyond criminal law and extend to other areas of law? The second image of Justice Iacobucci is as a justice committed to building consensus on the Court by encouraging his fellow justices to reach agreement with him and with each other in deciding appeals. This second view also raises a series of questions. Was Justice Iacobucci the 'swing' justice on the Court in that the other justices needed to have him onside to form a winning coalition? Alternatively, was he part of a natural coalition on one side of most issues and able to persuade other, disinclined justices to join his view? Did his relative position on the Court shift depending upon the area of law at issue? Did Justice Iacobucci's leanings or preferences change over time? This article addresses these and other related questions using an empirical analysis of Justice Iacobucci's time at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Keywords: attitudinal model, law and courts, judging, decision-making
JEL Classification: K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation