Published In

BC Studies: A British Columbian Quarterly

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



legal profession; legal history; legal profession; exclusion; politics; communism; character; McCarthyism; Canada


This paper assesses the exclusion of Gordon Martin from the practice of law in 1948 solely on the grounds that his communist political commitment was inconsistent with the role of a lawyer. In so doing it canvasses understandings of the day regarding communism, constitutionalism, and American social thought (as embodied in Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Dewey, Charles Beard, James Harvey Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen). Issues relating to self-governance of the legal profession, character, and statutory interpretation under then-current administrative law doctrine are reviewed.

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