Fake Law: The truth about justice in an age of lies
Picador, $34.99 pb, 386 pp
The timing was apt. In September, Fake Law: The truth about justice in an age of lies – written by pseudonymous British writer ‘The Secret Barrister’ – was published in Australia. The same month, President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States following the untimely death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. From two legal systems that have historically influenced ours came salutary warnings about the ill effects of law’s politicisation.
During the public rancour over Trump’s nomination, a common refrain on Australian Legal Twitter (#auslaw) was how fortunate we are to have an apolitical judiciary. Certainly, the High Court of Australia rarely divides on ideological lines, even in the most politically controversial cases. Some notable former exceptions aside, the political persuasion of our justices is hardly a matter of public knowledge or debate. Historically, Australian judges have cleaved neither left nor right but between centrists (favouring the federal government) and federalists (favouring the states).