Academic journal article McGill Law Journal

Roncarelli's Green Card: The Role of Citizenship in Randian Constitutionalism

Academic journal article McGill Law Journal

Roncarelli's Green Card: The Role of Citizenship in Randian Constitutionalism

Article excerpt

This article investigates the distinct character of Randian constitutionalism and how it may have been inspired by American discourse on constitutional values. More specifically, the author examines how Justice Rand's brand of constitutionalism is distinguishable from the more dominant strain of Diceyan constitutionalism that was prominent among Canadian jurists during the twentieth century. The author argues that the difference between Randian and Diceyan constitutionalism can be explained largely by the central role that "citizenship" played in Justice Rand's understanding of the Canadian constitutional order.

The author further argues that Justice Rand did not invent his conception of citizenship, but borrowed it from American constitutional jurisprudence regarding the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Accordingly, Justice Rand's opinion in Roncarelli and other cases shows how his constitutional vision was shaped by a series of strong dissenting opinions concerning the now-defunct Privileges or Immunities Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment. By doing so, Justice Rand sought to install in Canadian public law the same fundamental principles of equality and non-discrimination that the American Congress intended to establish by adopting the Fourteenth Amendment.

Cet article etudie le caractere distinct du eonstitutionnalisme randien et examine comment il a pu etre inspire du discours americain sur les valeurs constitutionnelles. Plus precisement, l'auteur examine les distinctions entre les approches constitutionnelles randienne et diceyenne, cette derniere etant proeminente parmi les juristes canadiens du vingtieme siecle. L'auteur soutient que la difference entre les constitutionnalismes randien et diceyen s'explique en grande partie par l'importance qu'accordait le juge Rand a la citoyennete dans sa eoneeption de l'ordre constitutionnel canadien.

L'auteur fait aussi valoir que le juge Rand n'a pas invente sa vision de la citoyennete, mais l'a plutot empruntee a la jurisprudence constitutionnelle americaine traitant du Quatorzieme amendement de la Constitution des Etats-Unis. Par eonsequent, l'opinion du juge Rand dans Roncarelli et dans d'autres affaires montre comment sa vision constitutionnelle a ete influencee par une serie d'opinions dissidentes relatives a l'ancienne clause <, privileges ou immunites >> du Quatorzieme amendement. Le juge Rand cherchait atum a meorporer au ch'oit public canadien les memes principes fondamentaux d'egalite et de non-discrimination que le Congres amerieain avait voulu etablir en adoptant le Quatorzieme amendement.



  I. The Constitutional Significance of Citizenship
 II. A Brief History of American Citizenship
III. The Role of Citizenship in Randian Constitutionalism
Conclusion: The Legacy of Randian Constitutionalism

There was here not only revocation of the existing permit but a declaration of a future, definitive disqualification of the appellant to obtain one: it was to be "forever". This purports to divest his citizenship status of its incident of membership in the class of those of the public to whom such a privilege could be extended. Under the statutory language here, that is not competent to the Commission and afortiori to the government or the respondent.

Justice Rand (1)


Roncarelli v. Duplessis is rightly celebrated as a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. Part of that celebrated status is a function of the historical context of the case; part of it is a function of the cause of action that the Court invoked to award Frank Roncarelli $33,123.53 in damages for abuse of public power. But for the most part, Roncarelli owes its landmark status to Justice Rand's distinctive brand of constitutionalism, which he used to justify judicial redress for what was an egregious abuse of executive discretion.

Randian constitutionalism is intriguing because it is distinguishable from the strain of Diceyan constitutionalism that typified Canadian administrative law for the better part of the twentieth century. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.