From Nadon to Attack Ads

In Canada, the appointment process for judges tends to be a mystery to the average person. As exemplified in the controversy regarding the attempted appointment of Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada. Professor Dodek writes in the Globe and Mail that “… we have a closed and secretive process that actually shields those who exercise power in the appointment process from having to account for it”. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/opaque-and-secretive-the-supreme-court-appointment-process-must-change/article18842827/

This contrasts starkly to the appointment of Americans to the judiciary. In some American States, the appointment process for judges is almost indistinguishable from the election of political candidates. As seen from this YouTube video, where an attack was made against a sitting judge who was up for re-election. She is practically described as pro-child-molester.

Even though electing judges encourages public discourse regarding the judiciary, it is a flawed process. Judges should adjudicate matters on their merits, not on how it will look in an upcoming judicial election. However, the “opaque and secretive” approach in Canada is wholly inadequate and indefensible in the days of the internet, where information can easily be distributed.

A middle ground approach from complete mystery to election must be taken. We are entitled to understand how and why certain individuals are selected over others. The government should pre-emptively reveal their secret formula for appointment. In particular, the government should reveal the criteria for selecting members to the judicial advisory committee and criteria used by that committee to recommend candidates to the judiciary.

We should not have to wait for a Rob-Ford-esque scandal to secure answers.

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