Canada’s High Court Refuses to Hear neo-Nazi Case

The court chose not to review two lower court rulings that blocked the transfer of a deceased man's estate, estimated at $250,000, to an American white supremacist group.

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Supreme Court of Canada Building in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.
Supreme Court of Canada Building in Ottawa, Ontario Canada.Credit: Wikimedia Commons / D. Gordon E. Robertson

Canada’s Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal in the case of a man whose will was overturned because he bequeathed his estate to a U.S. neo-Nazi group.

On Thursday, the country’s highest court without explanation chose not to review two lower court rulings that blocked the transfer of Robert McCorkill’s estate, estimated at $250,000, to the National Alliance.

The appeal was filed by the Canadian Association for Free Expression.

McCorkill, a one-time chemistry professor, died in 2004 and bequeathed his valuable coin collection, ancient artifacts and investments to the white supremacist group based in West Virginia.

In 2013, his sister asked that the bequest be declared void.

The following year, a New Brunswick court invalidated the will, saying such a bequest would run counter to Canadian public policy.

The ruling said written materials of the National Alliance were “racist, white-supremacist and hate-inspired,” and that the group “stands for principles and policies that are both illegal and contrary to public policy in Canada.”

While McCorkill’s bequest did not advocate violence, it “would unavoidably lead to violence because the NA, in its communications, both advocates and supports its use by others of like mind such as skinheads,” the court ruled.

Last July, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal upheld the decision to void McCorkill’s will.

McCorkill was recruited into the National Alliance in 1998. He later lived at the group’s compound in West Virginia, where he edited the final book written by its founder, William Pierce, author of the far-right screed “The Turner Diaries.”

Jewish groups warned that the infusion of funds would revitalize the moribund group.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, which was an intervenor in the case, said it would “continue working to identify legal tools to degrade the capacity of groups that spread hate propaganda against any minority.”

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