Two SCC Justices Retire, Two Openings for the Harper Government to Fill

Pauline Wong is Assistant Director of IP Osgoode.

The Supreme Court of Canada announced today that The Right Honourable Justice Ian Binnie and The Right Honourable Justice Louise Charron will be retiring from the Court.  This opens up two vacancies on the bench for Stephen Harper’s majority government to fill by their planned retirements on August 30, 2011.

The Globe and Mail commented (edited): Mr. Harper’s two Supreme Court appointments to date – Justice Rothstein and Thomas Cromwell – have both been considered moderate and uncontroversial choices. And Harper has committed to having future appointments be vetted by Parliament, which even with a majority would require them to withstand some scrutiny. But in 2004, Mr. Harper expressed strong views on what he perceived to be an overly activist judiciary: “The idea of adjudicated rights is an important development in our political system.  It’s one that I support in principle. But to make it work, we’ve got to make sure that we have courts that apply the law, not courts that apply their own criteria.”

For those of us watching happenings in the courts, this is shaping up to be an exciting summer!

One Comment
  1. It will be interesting to see who Harper eventually appoints to replace the retiring benchers. Justice Binnie was appointed by the Liberal government but arguably took a centrist position on the bench. Justice Charron, on the other hand, tended to have a more conservative reputation. Harper will likely attempt to make the Supreme Court more conservative than it has been in recent years.

    Another question is whether or not Harper will appoint a practicing lawyer to the bench. It might be a good idea for at least one of the replacements to be as it may keep the courts up-to-date with the current state of the law in practice.

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