Supreme Court Appointments
- Officially appointed by the Governor-General, on advice of Minister of Justice/Prime Minister
o Practicing lawyer for at least ten years or s.96 court judge.
o By law (Supreme Court Act) 3 judges must come from Quebec
Supreme Court Appointments (1875-1949)
- Supreme court is not the final court of appeal in this period
- Regional representation was still important in this period
- Group representation (French/English and/or religion of the applicant) and patronage have
changed significantly since that time.
o Frank Anglin: He was from Irish descent. Roman Catholic. He reminded the federal
government that they were losing support in Ontario and if they appointed Irish person
they will gain support and that he is a good candidate. He was from Ontario and his
family had long worked for the liberal party. Anglin got his wish and he was appointed
to Supreme Court. Was this a fair appointment?
o Since 1954 there have been no appointments based on Patronage
- Supreme Court Appointments Post-1949
o These factors have declined when considering the selection of Supreme Court Judges:
o Present important factors for the selection:
Group Representation (gender [1982, first female Supreme Court justice. Now
we have 4], ethnicity, sexual orientation, French/English)
Ideology? It is a very controversial factor. It is not sure whether it has declined.
In fact many people assume that it may have increased.
- SCC Appointment Reforms
o Prior to 2004
Prime Minister appoints judges (formally done by Gov. General).
Some behind the scenes consultations with legal profession and others.
Harper has now changed this and the process is now made public and
many people are involved.
o Alteration to the process in summer 2004 – Justices Louise Charron and Rosalie Abella
Minister of Justice went before the Justice Committee of Parliament to justify
the government’s two nominees – PM then appointed. The nominees
themselves would not face any scrutiny (they will not be facing the committee
and all). If they come before parliament then they will be politicized and their
integrity would be undermined. So the goal of this was to protect the nominees.
Number of federal and political leaders and media and academic commentators
wanted more significant changes made to the current system of appointing SCC
o Standing committee on Justice made recommendations for ore changes to the
o Justice Rothstein becomes the first Justice in Canada to ever have to face the
Parliamentary committee- Feb. 2006
Part of a short list created by an advisory committee and presented to the