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Lecture 6

PSCI 2003 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Judicial Interpretation, Japanese Canadians, John Locke

Political Science
Course Code
PSCI 2003
J Malloy

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Judges & the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Judicial Review:
In Canada there is Common Law
oUses precedents to make decision
oBasically judges look at past cases when deciding on rulings
Intra vires vs. ultra vires
oLatin meaning "inside the law" and "outside the law"
oCourts can strike down laws that are ultra vires
oThe law violates constitutional rules
oBasically the law itself is illegal
Judicial interpretation of 1867 constitution act
An example is the Parson's case from the previous lecture
Did judges interfere with the 1867 deal, or carefully balance federal and provincial interests?
Judges & their appointment:
All judges in Canada are appointed
As opposed to the United States where some are elected
Almost all judges in Canada are appointed by the federal government
Certain laws in Canada (eg. Banking) are federal laws
oMost other laws go to the provincial courts
Canada uses a hierarchy of courts (lowest to highest):
oProvincial lower courts
oProvincial superior courts
oFederal courts
oFederal appeal courts
oThe supreme court of Canada (SCC)
ALL judges in ALL courts EXCEPT the provincial lower courts, are appointed by the federal
minister of justice
Judges of lower courts are appointed by the provincial superior courts
The federal government wanted full control of judge appointments simply because giving away
judicial positions was a great "gift" for their supporters
Because they are appointed, judges are very difficult to get rid of, until they reach the age of 75
Since the 1960s, there's been an emphasis on qualifications for those getting appointed
There are still partisan ties within the legal system, however a 2010 study found that most
judges have no partisan ties
Those that do still have some, are mostly tied to the conservative party
Recently there has been more issues with gender and racial patterns
oLess female judges appointed
o2012 study found that newly appointed judges were 98% white
American methods:
oThere are 2 main ways of appointing judges
oLegislative appointment
oJudges at the lower court levels are elected for 10 year terms
oJudges run campaigns with TV ads and everything
oThe president is able to appoint judges to the supreme court
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