Why do Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court Write Books But Justices on the Canadian Supreme Court Don’t?

March 17th, 2013

Our jurists from up north offer some thoughts:

John Major, a former judge on the court (1992 to 2005), said a key reason is that they’re barred from any outside sources of earned income while they’re on the court. He added, “If I wanted to write a book that was of interest, I would have to hurt a number of people’s feelings, not only other judges but lawyers and other people.” He’s not prepared to do that.

Eugene Meehan, a former executive legal officer of the Supreme Court of Canada, said major partisan divides exist on the U.S. court, “and what flows naturally from this is when judges retire they want to get ‘their side of the story’ on the record.”

Justice Stevens, riding his rehabilitation tour strong, is exhibit A of getting his “side of the story” out.

I like how the Canadian’s describe their conference as a “papal conclave.” SCOTUS could use some tips.