Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Harper could stack Supreme Court

Upcoming Supreme Court of Canada retirements make this a very important federal election

Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight: The next prime minister of Canada could be in a position to appoint four Supreme Court of Canada justices. The nine-member court's mandatory retirement age is 75, and four will reach this milestone by the end of 2015. Morris J. Fish will be the first to turn 75... Ian Binnie and Louis LeBel will be 75 in 2014, and Marshall Rothstein reaches that age [on] 2015.

For years, conservatives have wanted to rein in the Supreme Court of Canada, which has issued numerous decisions over the years that have enraged right wingers. Those rulings include striking down Canada's abortion law, 'reading in' sexual orientation to the list of equality rights guaranteed under Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and requiring that the Crown provide full disclosure to the defence in criminal cases.

In 2000, University of Calgary professors Ted Morton... and Rainier Knopff wrote a book called The Charter Revolution & the Court Party, which alleged that 'university-based intellectuals' had embarked on an 'astoundingly successful strategy' to promote an activist, rights-based agenda through the courts... Morton and Knopff, along with future prime minister Stephen Harper, were among six Albertans who signed [the] famous 'firewall letter' in 2001...

If Harper were to win a majority government on May 2 and later stack the court with judges who share the views of right wingers... this could have profound ramifications on the future of Canada.
Image source here.