Retirement of S.C. Justice Morris Fish to Put Pressure on PM

Supreme Court of Canada Justice Morris Fish has publicly announced to have made the decision of retiring from the top court this spring, consequently barging a great amount of pressure on Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who will then be tasked with the responsibility of balancing the number of female judges on the Supreme Court bench to four. So far, only one of the five appointments to the to the nine-judge court by Mr. Harper has been a woman.

Harper has been previously criticized for replacing Justice Marie Deschamps with Justice Richard Wagner last fall. Judge Deschamps asserted that it was important that she must have been replaced by a woman. She alleged that “numbers do count,” while speaking to a media outlet in February. She mentioned that “I was sad that I was not replaced by a woman.” Now the departure of Justice Fish will evidently deprive the court of its most defence-oriented judge, especially when only few months are left in the hearing of extremely important cases involving the legitimacy of several controversial aspects of Mr. Harper’s criminal-law reform package.

An associate dean of law at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, James Stribopoulos, mentioned that Justice Fish epitomized the best qualities of a judge. He explained that “he has many strengths as a jurist – a clear and pithy writing style, a razor-sharp intellect, a fidelity to logic and principle.” Prof. Stribopoulos alleged that “most of all, however, is his humanity. In every context, but especially in criminal law, he was always very much aware and sensitive toward the stakes for everyone involved.”

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