Justice Scalia may be considered one of the most influential justices in the U.S. But in Canada, Scalia pushed courts in the opposite direction.
Canadian constitutional scholar Adam Dodek credits Scalia's disdain for international law for helping make Canada a "constitutional superpower." Scalia insisted that global consensus on the law should have no effect on U.S. law. As a result, U.S. law became relevant mainly only within the U.S.
Into the vacuum, the Supreme Court of Canada stepped in, Dodek writes. Canadian law was seen as reflecting the international consensus more than U.S. law. This greatly increased the power and persuasiveness of Canadian law. In fact, between 1996 and 2000, Candian law was cited twice as much as U.S. law in New Zealand, according to one academic study.
Scalia also had a deep influence on Canadian law by serving as a counterexample of the kind of judge Canadian judges strove not to be. Prizing civility, Canadian lawyers recoiled at some of Scalia's scathing comments and the polarization they exposed.
Justice Scalia changed the way Canadian law is regarded and discussed. Just, not in the way Scalia might have expected.