Monday, June 13, 2005

Courting disaster

From the National Post:
A retiring Supreme Court of Canada judge says his potential replacements would not be scared off if the Martin government allowed MPs to publicly question them before being named to the High Court.

"Taking the ordinary qualified candidate, I don't think anyone would say 'no' simply because there is going to be an interview," Justice Jack Major said.

I don't have a huge problem with Major's actual position, especially since (contrary to the headline) Major clarifies by saying that a U.S.-style public vetting of candidates wouldn't result in any useful information coming out. However, that part is conveniently left out of the lead.

What's worse, a more important question is left out of the article entirely. The calculation isn't simply whether qualified candidates will avoid the court based on public hearings, but also whether the court (even if composed of the exactly the same people) will be seen as more political due to opposition-party grandstanding.

At the best of times, the balance favours maintaining the status quo. When people like this are taking a substantial place in the official opposition, the balance swings even further against mixing politics with the court.

No comments:

Post a Comment