What is a judge anyway? “A rather stern kindergarten teacher”

Although I found this on Lowering the Bar, the story was also picked up by other sources − even one that has evidenced no sense of humor.

So I prefer Lowering the Bar’s version, which begins:

“I say this with the greatest respect,” continued Justice E.M. Morgan, “as both the Plaintiffs and the Defendants are educated professionals who are successful in their work lives and are otherwise productive members of the community.” But when it comes to this case, he wrote in an opinion released today, they are “acting like children.”

The opinion in Morland-Jones v. Taerk has to be read to be fully appreciated—it’s an outstanding example of its category. That category being something like, “Opinions by Canadian Judges Who Think the Parties Are Being Ridiculous and Enjoy Telling Them So in Humorous Terms.” (One previous example here.) It is also an example of the sort of utterly ridiculous case that so often arises out of a petty dispute between neighbors.

The parties, two couples who live next door to each other, “do not seem to like each other,” Morgan wrote with true Canadian understatement. They have in fact hated each other for years. Two of plaintiffs’ 11 security cameras point at the defendants’ front door and yard, and plaintiffs record everything they do. This was clear from the video that plaintiffs brought to the hearing on their motion for injunctive relief. For example, “the hearing before me started off with … a short excerpt from security footage shot by the Plaintiffs several years ago, in which Ms. Taerk is seen performing a ‘poop and scoop’ after a dog did its business on her front lawn.” Her crime, it appears, was in disposing of said poop in the plaintiffs’ trash can rather than the defendants’ own. But as the court pointed out, “there is no claim for pooping and scooping into the neighbour’s garbage can….”

There’s more − “The Parties Do Not Need a Judge; They Need a Rather Stern Kindergarten Teacher” – Lowering the Bar. − and then there are those lovely links to the actual decisions.

A comment: I’ve always viewed judges as parents who have to arbitrate family fights, with a “You’ll do it because I tell you to!”

This entry was posted in J. Judge and courtroom and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.