Is there a sexist double standard at work in the Associate Chief Justice Douglas judicial inquiry?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Judicial inquiries are rare, in fact there have only been nine in the history of the Canadian Judicial Council. Feminist commentators have argued, below, that directing this rare form of public inquiry against ACJ Douglas is problematic in at least two gendered ways:

1) The inquiry against the judge results from her being betrayed by a partner with whom she engaged in consensual sexual activity. She did not make the photos public. Many, many judges would be subject to similar scrutiny if untrustworthy partners made their sex lives public.

See commentary in the Globe and Mail by Professor Karen Busby of the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law.

 2) That the inquiry itself is exacerbating the situation by providing public fora to those who would continue to exploit the photos for sexist or misogynist purposes.

Professor Susan Drummond of Osgoode Hall sent the following letter to the Globe and Mail, noting that the Globe had allowed the photos themselves to be described and posted in their comments section, repeating the betrayal by ACJ Douglas' husband in sharing them with Alex Chapman:

"The Globe and Mail yesterday opened its article on the judicial inquiry re ACJ Douglas to comments. With complete foreseeability, a poster, "Civil Einsah", started describing the photographs in his possession and then he eventually published links to them. I reported the abuse immediately and, when nothing was done to remove his postings after more than an hour, I called the Globe - twice - to get the newspaper to remove the links. As I write, Civil Einsah's description of the content of the photographs remains on-line, despite me having reported abuse last night. I have done a screen save of the posts and have been in touch with ACJ Douglas's lawyer. I am APPALLED at the conduct of the Globe. The poster's mysogyny is distressing enough - but for the Globe and Mail to facilitate this hate-fest is utterly unconscionable. I will be contacting my colleagues across Canada to address the Globe's conduct.

What were you THINKING?"
Designed by Rachel Gold.