Ottawa Changes Process of Selecting Supreme Court Justices

The Liberal government has announced its plan to overhaul the method to pick a Supreme Court justice as it moves to abandon the process often criticized as partisan and unaccountable. According to the announcement to be made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, former prime minister Kim Campbell will be heading a new seven-member advisory board that will be tasked to recommend candidates to replace Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell, who is due to retire on Sept. 1.

According to the new process, any qualified Canadian lawyer or judge will be allowed to announce their name for consideration and the government will accept applications for the job in Canada’s highest court until the end of the day on Aug. 24. Thereafter, it will be the task of the board to review all applications and make recommendations based only on the pool of applicants. In an article published in The Globe on Tuesday, Mr. Trudeau wrote that “from now on, an independent and non-partisan advisory board will be given the task of identifying suitable candidates,” adding that “gone are the days of governments – Liberal and Conservative alike – nominating Supreme Court justices through a secretive backroom process. Canadians deserve better.”

According to previous conventions, since Justice Cromwell comes from Nova Scotia his successor should come from Atlantic Canada. However, Ottawa did not limit the search process to Atlantic Canada but in fact the board will accept nominations from across the country.

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