Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Illegitimacy of HRCs

A very good summing-up here of the fundamentally subversive nature of Human Rights Commissions:
These HRCs are dangerous (and illegitimate) because they defy hundreds of years of British legal tradition and history. The British legacy of the rule of law is one of the greatest legacies of British culture in all of history. Around the world in former colonies and protectorates, the traditions that stem from British courts often continue today even if those nations no longer consider themselves as part of the Commonwealth. The defiance of history observed by the HRCs and plaintiffs against Steyn are exemplified by a brief review of the time tested legal principles of standing, evidence, and damages.

The legal concept of standing requires an individual to show they have a personal interest in the case in question. American, Canadian, and British courts prevent third party standing in most incidents because such a plaintiff cannot prove a wrong has been committed against them. This prevents an individual from bringing a generalized complaint before the court. The HRC's have no requirement for standing. So anyone, can sue for any reason, whether or not they have been offended, discriminated against, humiliated, or if nothing happened to them at all.

There are also no rules of evidence. There is no "proof" required, and hearsay abounds within a HRC trial. The lack of evidentiary rules makes most lawyers cringe. Everything, including the kitchen sink, can be included in a complaint for the HRC to examine without any fact finding, witnesses, or proof. The HRC members will then determine what is admissible, important, and "true", which commonly means everything alleged.

Finally, damages are not required to be proven or quantified. Any civil suit in a "real" court requires damages to be proven so that a settlement or judgment can be reached after the evidence is weighed. The plaintiff must prove to the court and/or jury that the wrong has resulted in an injury or damages to their person, reputation, etc. HRCs don't require such finicky items like "real" damages. A complaint is proof in itself for damages.


Steyn does not advocate violence or hatred, he writes to warn the west of the danger that looms because of an ideology that opposes the values the West has held dear for hundreds of years: freedom of speech, equality of opportunity, the rule of law, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. Steyn's book has warned us of the threats to our Western values, the law suit against him exemplifies that the threat is real and immediate.
That line, "everything, including the kitchen sink, can be included in a complaint for the HRC," put me in mind of some of the phrasing to be found in the Statement of Claim for this civil suit*, namely (my emphasis):
As a result of their human rights work, the plaintiffs have endured extensive efforts by white supremacists and neo-Nazis at retaliation including repeated death threats and virtually anything else that they can think up including using the internet to defame them and attempt to undermine their credibility.
Never mind the serendipitous ambiguity of the subject "they" in the emphasized phrase--it would appear that the kitchen sink might be making appearances in proper courts of law too!

"May it please the court, council for the plaintiffs would like to submit Exhibit A: Virtually Anything Else That They Can Think Up."


*This exact phrasing, not surprisingly, is also to be found in this suit.