As Trinity Western University’s fight to get its virginal law school graduates accredited in Ontario and B.C. goes to the Supreme Court of Canada, I look, as always, to the keen legal insights of that veteran high court loiterer, Eugene Meehan, Q.C.
At issue, readers will recall, is TWU’s “Community Covenant,” which forbids students at the institute of holier learning from cussin’, boozin’ and above all, any horizontal jogging “that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman,” which amounts to a fatwah on same-sexiness on the evangelical campus. Discriminatory, quoth the law societies. Take your Jebus-law elsewhere.
Or, as the newsletter of Supreme Advocacy LLP, Meehan’s one-stop shop for appeals to the high court, summarized the heart of the matter last month, “Can there be a Christian law school in Canada?”
It’s perhaps a wee oversimplifation of the actual issues under appeal, the powers and obligations of our august law socities, the delicate balance of Charter rights, quack, quack, m’lud.
But our Eugene, a unique blend of under-achievment and over-promotion, is far from a neutral observer on Trinity Western, having represented Lordy U in their original gripe before the Law Society of Upper Canada, before the school got serious with a Gawd Squad from Bennett Jones, led by former President Steve legalist Bob Staley, to lose the day at the Ontario Divisional and Appeal Courts.
Eugene made a name for himself early on as head bottlewasher and lacky to overrefreshed Supreme Court Chief Justice Tony “Martooni” Lamer. Insiders recall a control freak who used to push a grocery cart full of court judgments from the copy room to the press room every time the Hon. Justices pronounced from on high.
For some reason, Eugene’s legal debriefings came to be considered self-aggrandizement, so the Chief Justice ordered posters displayed in the press room and throughout the building noting that Eugene was in not in fact speaking for the judges.
Similar rolling of eyes greeted Meehan’s long, loud and expensive campaign for the presidency of the Canadian Bar Association, which he finally captured in 1999-2000.
More dignified members of the second-oldest profession were amazed to note Meehan’s campaign website messianically proclaiming “Meehan for the Millennium.” His then-partners at Lang Michener, seeing little benefit in the campaign except the kilted egomaniac, declined to contribute to its costs, not unadjacent to $35,000.
No matter, Eugene’s self-promotion paid off with a $60,000 presidential honorarium and bully pulpit from which to bore the bejaysus out of legal weasels across the country. In Trinity Western, Meeehan saw another investment opportunity.
“I am an irregular church-goer but more regular Law Society attendee (four times) so I probably know more about the latter than the former,” he wrote in a 2012 letter of support for the school’s founding. “I do however believe in something greater than me (shurely shome mishtake?!–ed.)…And to speak personally and directly, I do put my money where my mouth is — I have personally contributed $25,000 to this Law School initiative. I will contribute more.”
And so it came to pass.