PM announces two nominees for Supreme Court
Published Monday, October 17, 2011 2:59PM EDT
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has chosen two judges from the Ontario Court of Appeal to fill vacancies at the Supreme Court of Canada.
As reported by CTV News Sunday night, Harper has selected Justice Andromache Karakatsanis and Justice Michael J. Moldaver.
Karakatsanis is considered a judicial moderate. She is bilingual and was a former top public servant in Ontario before Jean Chretien named her to the bench in 2002. She had also been considered for chief justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Moldaver is a former defence lawyer who has expressed concern that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is often being used to evade convictions for serious crimes. He was named to the bench by Brian Mulroney and promoted to the Ontario Court of Appeal by Jean Chretien.
Karakatsanis and Moldaver were among six judges recommended by a parliamentary review committee.
Karakatsanis is the first Greek-Canadian appointed to Canada's top court.
Moldaver is Jewish and is considered a tough law-and-order judge -- a good fit for the Conservatives' ambitious legal agenda. But he is not bilingual, which may ruffle some feathers during parliamentary questioning later this week.
The justice department consulted Canada's legal community for a list of qualified candidates. The names were submitted to an all-party committee of MPs, and the list was whittled down to six unanimous choices,
"Both Justice Karakatsanis and Justice Moldaver's candidacies were examined through a comprehensive process," Harper said in a statement Monday.
"Madam Justice Karakatsanis and Mr. Justice Moldaver are exceptional candidates who have the skills and qualifications necessary to serve Canadians as judges of the Supreme Court of Canada."
Both nominees have agreed to appear at an ad hoc parliamentary committee to answer questions from MPs on Oct. 19.
Karakatsanis may face questioning over her ties to some powerful Conservatives, in particular, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, whom she worked closely with when he was Ontario's attorney general.
The parliamentary committee has no veto power over the appointments, which is entirely up to the prime minister.
The pair will replace two judges who retired in August: Justice Louise Charron and Justice Ian Binnie.
Supreme Court judges are appointed to serve on the bench until the age of 75.
The Supreme Court of Canada consists of nine judges, including the Chief Justice of Canada, currently Justice Beverley McLachlin.
With the two new appointments to the Supreme Court, there will be three judges from both Ontario and Quebec, and one each from Manitoba, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
Four of the judges will be women with Karakatsanis' appointment.