2/27/2006

Rothstein Before Committee Today

Supreme Court Nominee Marshall Rothstein will appear before a committee today for questioning. It will be aired on CTVNewsnet later today and presumably CPAC, so I might watch it later.
MPs will not be allowed to question Rothstein on hot-button issues... Some have criticized the idea of a nomination process. Opponents say it will only encourage bickering over nominees...The legal community and some MPs have also raised concerns that Rothstein might be asked questions about cases that could come before the court at a later date...
On the one hand, I understand why some might want to avoid controversial questions. There is a fear that the judge's impartiality might be compromised. On the other hand, I am not certain it is a good idea to avoid controversy. I don't agree that giving an honest answer to a controversial question would compromise the ability to render a sound judgment. Judges aren't supposed to interpret the law according to their whims (Beverly McLachlin's opinion notwithstanding); they are supposed to apply the law as it is. Besides, even if you don't ask a judge to discuss their opinion, they still hold it.
What's so bad about controversy anyway? Why fear conflict? It can be (though not always) healthy to bring up potentially controversial issues for discussion. If a judge has an opinion on a topic, I see no reason why he or she should not be questioned. After all, the judges apply the law. Sometimes, they interpret the law or even make new laws when they shouldn't. Because of this, I think all of their controversial opinions should be known and held up for examination. That way people know what to expect.
But that's just me.

3 comments:

Connie said...

We’ve posted lots of background information regarding the SCC nomination procedure and candidate:
http://www.slaw.ca/marshall-rothstein-pages/

We’d love for you to add a question for Mr. Justice Rothstein (if you could interview him):
http://www.slaw.ca/2006/02/25/a-question-mr-justice/

Cheers,
Connie

GritPatriot said...

Liberal civility made this work.

Obviously because this was the CPC nominee the Cons were not in attack dog mode. But, if the Liberals were the governing party we all know that the nastiness of the CPC would have been in full view. If the CPC could commit to civility then this process could work in perpetuity. In fact, if the CPC made a commitment to civility in Parliament then government would work better too.

Ruth said...

Grit,
What the heck are you talking about?

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