Perhaps Unfortunate, Almost Certainy Inevitable ... And What About Us?

This is probably for the best, all things considered.

Like perhaps 99% of the North American population, I had never heard of Ms Miers before she was nominated for the position.

Perhaps, in the abstract, she would have made a fine judge, even for the highest court in the USA. However, in the real world, her nomination appeared doomed from the beginning. It appeared that she tried to straddle the fence on a number of issues, which resulted in attacks from both sides.

I certainly harbour no ill will for someone who, as near as I can tell, accepted the nomination with the best of intentions. She will likely land on her feet, and find other ways to contribute.

This leads to another point, of course: whether the public scrutiny that is a part of the American system is preferable to the Canadian way of appointing judges which, pending some minor-looking reforms, is centred on the back rooms. We have been fortunate to have, for the most part, a history of appointing top-level judges to the Supreme Court of Canada. The same thing goes for lower-level courts: Look, as a lawyer, I've seen my share of judges, and almost without exception, they have been of an excellent quality.

I am, however, not convinced that we should simply rely on history and hope when it comes to appointing judges, particularly when it comes to the SCC. If a PM were to appoint a crony or a donar to the bench, how exactly would we have a chance to bring that PM back into line? Right now, it seems that there is, in fact, no way of doing so. Perhaps if the relatively minor changes that have been introduced don't result in the sky falling, future governments may open the door a little wider to public participation in the process, even if we don't go as far as the States - and Lord knows, that process has enough problems to keep me from wanting the same thing here. But I wouldn't bet on it.

More later.


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