November 19, 2006

Nov. 19, 2006: Supremes Stoop ... to Command

Justice Abella: "sometimes she goes by intuition" -- "like playing God"

Screen capture from Kate of Small Dead Animals -- link within.

Note: I do not know Justice Abella, nor do I have anything against her ... as a person. I include this simply to put paid to the idea of justices as, unlike the rest of us, not quite human once they rise to the pinnacle of the courts; they, like us, are a product of all that has influenced them. They are products of the political and justice system, particularly the political inputs of those who appointed them. They should not feel they are above the fray; they're not. They need input from those who are on the front lines ... and from those who cower far behind the front lines ... and post in blogs ... people like me. Minister Toews has the right idea when he suggests a law enforcement component to make input.

SCOC - Supreme Court of Canada, Justice Beverley McLachlin and the System

Toews criticized for new judge appointment reforms -- Canada's top judge, chief justices take Minister to task , Cristin Schmitz, CanWest, November 10, 2006

[....] "We call upon the minister to initiate an immediate process of consultation on the proposed changes with the judiciary, the Canadian Bar Association and Law Societies, and other interested persons," Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin said in a prepared statement released yesterday by the Canadian Judicial Council. [.... Note below that it is headed by Justice McLachlin ... who might find it somewhat simple to get agreement from the CJC which she heads. See below for more.]

The council, which oversees the conduct of Canada's 1,000 federal trial and appellate trial judges, was reacting to remarks made by Mr. Toews to the Winnipeg Free Press this week stating he plans major changes to the 16 five-person committees across the land that rate lawyers who apply for federal judgeships. Mr. Toews said he plans to add police representatives to the committee, which is largely composed of lawyers and judges, among other changes.

The two-year terms of the advisory committees expired last week leaving no one to vet applicants for the Bench. Mr. Toews said he wants to expand the number of voices on the commitees.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin is among those expressing displeasure with Justice Minister Vic Toews for hatching a plan to arbitrarily change the way judges are chosen.

Translation: They should be appointed the way she was ... by a Prime Minister, as were most SCOC members ... usually by a Liberal PM, after consultation with the members of the system ... who, naturally, do not want the system in which they thrived to change.

Why do I suspect the SCOC's Goddess Supreme actually means that prospective members should have to prove their lawerly leftist / activist / Liberal bona fides ... just as with all these appointments ... perhaps by getting on a Lib/left approved list from which the power people make the choices.

More on the SCOC:

Frost Hits the Rhubarb Aug. 1, 2006: A very odd thing ... "During the last federal election campaign, some Conservative candidates implied the Supreme Court of Canada had been packed with lib-left ideologues who were using their judicial powers to legislate changes in Canadian law" . Ted Byfield, July 30, 06

Top judges rebuke tories -- Federal plan would allow police to help appoint judiciary, Kirk Makin, Globe and Mail, Nov. 10, 06

Beverley McLachlin, Canada's Chief Justice, along with a powerful council [The Canadian Judicial Council: see below] of the country's top judges issued an unprecedented rebuke yesterday to Justice Minister Vic Toews for hatching a plan to arbitrarily change the way judges are chosen.

Note the loaded language: My translation and comments are provided free of charge.

"a powerful council ... top judges ... unprecedented rebuke": Would this be a threat veiled in red velvet judicial robes? Or is the Globe telling readers how they should react?

"hatching a plan to arbitrarily change"

I take exception to the language, especially since it is well known that final decisions on the last two Liberal appointees to the SCOC, Justices Abella and Charron were taken by ex-PM, Liberal Paul Martin from a list prepared by then-Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler. Or is it acceptable for Liberals to make suggestions but not the people--police--security officers who put their lives on the line on the streets of Canada in facing criminals every day?

Current Justice Minister Vic Toews' change is not arbitrary; it is part of the conservative plan to render the judiciary representative of the citizenry, not just of Liberals and leftists. The plan has not been hatched; it is emanating from that government the people elected to govern ... in loco Liberals ... late of ADSCAM corruption.

"Powerful" does not make the justices nor the Canadian Judicial Council always right, nor any less activist, nor leftist, nor Liberal.

The Canadian Judicial Council

Check and you will find
the only justice whose photo is on that website main page is Justice Beverley McLachlin . It might be worth checking how many Liberals you recognize in the group.

"The Council’s core mandate is to promote Efficiency, Uniformity and Quality in Canada’s justice system. Through committees of judges and experts in a variety of fields, discussions with partners, review of complaints against judges and studies on best practices, the Council is instrumental in fostering a strong judiciary in which everyone can have confidence."

Dear Justice McLachlin, you have failed to inspire confidence in one citizen and member of the great unwashed, the hoi polloi, a member of the common folk who puts the "common" in commonweal -- me. If your cozy little judicial societies focus upon the system and reading the entrails of what has gone before, there is no possibility of learning from others with a new and perhaps just as valid a perspective, hence little potential for growth in wisdom.

As for that bit about Canadian Judicial Council's promotion of "uniformity", there is already too much uniformity of political and social activist ideology ... Cobwebs of it hang ... Liberal ideology has not been dusted through years of Liberal rule ... years spent choosing you and your colleagues who were deemed ideologically / politically sound ... sound enough to render therulings expected by the ones who first vetted, then those who did the appointing of layers of justices ... or sound enough to venture into areas politicians dare not tread under peril of ballot box justice ... fearing to waken the sleeping giants, the great ignored ... the amorphous them not favoured by special or group or minority rights--you know the special groups to which I refer. Conservatives have had little input. The system is designed to perpetuate itself. (See below.)

Does Justice McLachlin remember her statements in New Zealand? *** ... about the need for justices to "Put rights before Parliament ... "

In effect, Justice McLachlin is quite satisfied--self-satisfied, even--with creating laws, setting precedents outside Parliament. She just does not want any change to her power ... she wants no input from:

* the wrong political party, the current one ... the conservatives who just happen to have been elected to govern, to make input where they see a need ... which leads to the crux of the Justice's discomfort ... that there might be input from ...

* the wrong people ... those unrepresented in the cozy little set-up which Justice McLachlin leads ... those actually working in the justice system whose opinions--particularly if negative--are unrepresented. The Justice doesn't want anyone not vetted and appointed by the usual group. ... would we term it the Court Party or the Liberal Party?

Justice McLachlin needs an update from the people she and her group generally ignore ... those who don't form a voting block an identifiable sub-group in need of special rights or special consideration ... They're the ones victimized by the system as it is.

Put rights before Constitution -- Chief Justice: McLachlin tells judges to be bold 'even in the face of clearly enacted laws', by Janice Tibbets, CanWest, Dec. 5, 2005 -- via CNEWS forum "A truly scary person in Canadian politics" posted 12/05/2005 -- Scary SCOC Goddess Supreme
aka Chief Justice McLachlin
, December 8, 2005

OTTAWA - Judges should feel "emboldened" to trump the written word of the Constitution when protecting fundamental, unwritten principles and rights, Canada's Chief Justice says.

Beverley McLachlin, in a speech delivered in New Zealand, took on critics who say judges have no business going beyond the strict letter of the Constitution to strike down laws and enforce rights.

"The rule of law requires judges to uphold unwritten constitutional norms, even in the face of clearly enacted laws or hostile public opinion," said a prepared text of the lecture Judge McLachlin gave to law students at Victoria University of Wellington late last week.

"There is certainly no guarantee or presumption that a given list of constitutional principles is complete, even assuming the good faith intention of the drafters to provide such a catalogue."

Judge McLachlin set out a blueprint for when judges must rely on unwritten principles, which she defined as "norms that are essential to a nation's history, identity, values and legal system."

Even in countries that have written bills of rights enshrined in their constitutions, such as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Judge McLachlin said
unwritten principles have a role for several reasons. Societal values change over time, and the constitution document can be incomplete or open to interpretation.

"I believe that judges have the duty to insist that legislative and executive branches of government conform to certain established and fundamental norms, even in times of trouble," she said.
[Is it possible she is the one who needs to conform? To the will of the people?]

Even countries without constitutionalized bills of rights, such as New Zealand, find ways to ensure fundamental justice based on unwritten norms of fairness, she said.

She noted critics have advocated reining in the use of unwritten constitutional principles on the grounds that it amounts to "judicial imperialism" or even the personal views of an individual judge.

... invoking unwritten constitutional principles in a historic opinion ...

... invoked the unwritten principles of federalism, ....

... unwritten constitutional principles ....

... unwritten constitutional norms that have evolved into entrenched rights ...

... the judges used unwritten constitutional principles in 1997 ....

A truly scary person in Canadian politics -- Hostile public opinion, Angry in the Great White North -- Comments: "Because we all know now that the courts are not going to protect us. We're just hostile enough to warrant notice." , December 06, 2005, comments below: from rockyt111

... maybe this university background will help you understand the Supreme Court Banjo Players of the Ottawa River Valley and its peculiar, unrepresentative judgements. Naturally the rest of the Liberal Injustice system follows orders from headquarters.

A) Chief Justice McLachlin 1) Univ of Alberta
B) John Major 1) Loyola Montreal, 2) Univ of Montreal
C) M Bastarache 1) Univ of New Brunswick 2) Univ of Montreal
D) Ian Binnie 1) McGill Univ Montreal 2) Cambridge UK
E) Louis Lebel 1) Jesuit College, Quebec City 2) Laval Univ Montreal
F) Marie Deschamps 1) Univ of Montreal 2) McGill Univ Montreal
G) Morris Fish 1) McGill Univ Montreal 2) Univ of Paris France
H) Rosalie Abella 1) Univ of Toronto
I) Louise Charron 1) Carleton Univ Ottawa 2) Univ of Ottawa
J) Minister Irwin Cotler 1) McGill Univ Montreal
K) RCMP Zacaradelli 1) Loyola Univ Montreal

[....] The Chief Justice may be from Alberta but she fits the narcissistic Trudeau mold of using the courts to create an ersatz 'Canadian' culture.

[.... There is more commentary on how unrepresentative the system is and how cavalierly it regards the opinions of the citizenry. ]

Of the 11 top posts in the justice department of Canada we have 9 of the people all living in or coming from the narrow bilingual and bicultural belt of the Ottawa River Valley.

Four judges are French Canadians and one of the others is married to one. French Canadians are less than 25% of the population.

Three of the 11 people are Jews [who] comprise only 1.1% of the Canadian population. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have 2/3 of the Jews leaving only 100,000 Jews in Canada outside of those 3 cities.

It is unbelievable that such a narrowminded and pathetic supreme court could be handpicked from country that is over 4000 miles wide. Clearly justice was the last thought on the minds of the people who picked these administraters of justice. The Chief Justice may be from Alberta but she fits the narcissistic Trudeau mold of using the courts to create an ersatz 'Canadian' culture.

Obviously the chances of real serious sentences in the Adscam fiasco ranges from slim to none considering the heavy Quebec presence in the court. Likewise the Abotech affair.

You know, the more you look at the present dysfunctional political entity called Canada, the more Western Canadians have come to realize that Ottawa has nothing left to offer us ...

Posted by: rocky at December 6, 2005 01:32 PM

To return to Put rights before Constitution -- Chief Justice: McLachlin tells judges to be bold 'even in the face of clearly enacted laws', by Janice Tibbets, CanWest, Dec. 5, 2005 -- via CNEWS forum "A truly scary person in Canadian politics" posted 12/05/2005 -- Scary SCOC Goddess Supreme
aka Chief Justice McLachlin
, December 8, 2005

[....] Our government and our judiciary is used to ignoring hostile public opinion. Maybe we're just not being hostile enough.

Canadians are not protected by our justice system, but are treated with contempt by most of the people sitting on the bench and the government that put them there.

This should come as no surpise. When the Liberal government treats us and our money with contempt, does it come as any surprise that the people who are appointed as judges, in our system that lacks oversight for those appointments, share the government's attitudes? [. . . . ]

FHTR's comments at that time:

System change is needed; end the appointment process and the fiction that ordinary human beings, once they become justices, lose all quite human leanings toward one political philosophy or another. Admit that our SCOC and undoubtedly most of the courts are politicized, through human nature and by the nature of the appointment process -- and sheer luck favouring those with power already ....

End also the secretive funding of intervenor groups such as are funded under the Court Challenges Program. Is that not a covert avenue to subvert the will of the people? . . .

Frost Hits the Rhubarb Sept. 10, 2006: Court Challenges Program & More

No wonder the Justice wants no change ... especially since law-enforcement might criticize "justice" and sentencing in this country. I expect she would not want anything to detract from the usual fawning treatment of herself and her fellow appointees.

Which members of the system support the Justice's stance?

Members of the Canadian Judicial Council -- with Justice McLachlin heading the appointed group

The members of the CJC are listed ... followed by a list of the staff at the CJC offices in Ottawa.

Supreme Court of Canada

The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., C.J.C. (Chairperson)

In the news, most lawyers do not speak out against the system. Those who do ... do not make it to the Supreme Court (SCOC). Maybe that's the pool from which the little guys--not the drug cartel lads--get their legal representation. The big crooks can afford high priced mouthpieces and this is called justice. The corruptos in government often manage to have the taxpayers foot their legal bills. They're part of the system that appoints the august justices who would see that as fair ... that the little people pay for justice ... along with associated perqs for the really important people ... and/or corrupt ones.

Nominating Committee -- "To provide advice and make recommendations to the Council with respect to nominations to various Council committees, taking into account to the extent possible regional and jurisdictional representation."

Without limiting the generality of the foregoing the Committee

• shall make recommendations at the annual meeting of the Council about the membership of the Council’s Executive Committee, and the membership of the Standing Committees (other than the Appeal Courts Committee, the Trial Courts Committee and the Judicial Conduct Committee);

• shall make recommendations, following consultation with the Council Chairperson, regarding the chairmanship of Standing Committees;

• may make recommendations, when requested to do so by the Council, the Executive Committee, or the Chairperson, about the membership of the Council’s Special or Advisory Committees;

• may arrange for questionnaires to be sent from time to time to all federally appointed judges inviting them to complete if they have an interest in being considered for membership on a Council committee.

It does appear as though the system feeds upon itself, reproduces itself ... with little chance of any upsetting ideas surfacing or upsetting the people included ... nothing that would upset the sensitive judicial flowers so tended and watered by that system.

Maple Leaf Web:
Canada a “judocracy” (ruled by judges) rather than a democracy (ruled by the people).

The Supreme Court often acts as a check on the legislative power of the House of Commons, in some cases denying the legality of government policy moves, in other cases affirming them. Needless to say, SCC judges occupy a weighty post, to the point that some commentators have dubbed Canada a “judocracy” (ruled by judges) rather than a democracy (ruled by the people).

In January of 2004 two high-profile judges announced they were leaving the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). In February, Supreme Court judge Louise Arbour was appointed as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR). Arbour left the Supreme Court in June, 2004.

In Febuary of 2004, Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci announced his retirement. He also departed in June in order to spend more time with his family. Iacobucci was appointed to his post in 1991, by then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

[Liberal ex-] Prime Minister Paul Martin ... appointed two judges to fill the openings:

Justice Rosalie Abella
has a reputation as a strong supporter of minority rights .... chaired the Royal Commission on Equality in Employment .... advocated a new strategy for reducing barriers in employment faced by women, aboriginal people, non-whites, and persons with disabilities .... later adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in its first decision on equality rights under s. 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On the Ontario Court of Appeal, she ruled that same-sex partners could seek spousal benefits under the Income Tax Act.

and Justice Louise Charron.

has a reputation as being progressive on social issues. .... wrote a judgement that allowed members of same-sex couples to seek alimony. In 2000, she ruled that federal marijuana possession laws were unconstitutional .... served on the Ontario Police Commission in 1998

However, the appointment process itself has been thrust into the limelight.
The prime minister unilaterally decides who is appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Critics argue that this process leaves the court open to political manipulation.

Justice McLachlin and the supportive members of the system did not speak out the last time two members of the SCOC / Supreme Court were chosen. Check the process.

Prime Minister Paul Martin’s Appointments

The nominees and selection process
, Maple Leaf Web

The following provides an overview of the appointments to Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) made by [ex-]PM Martin and the process he used

The members of the committee were as follows:

* Derek Lee, Liberal MP for Scarborough-Rouge River
* Sue Barnes, Liberal MP for London West
* Denis Paradis, Liberal MP for Brome-Missisquoi
* Vic Toews, Conservative MP for Provencher
* Peter MacKay, Conservative MP for Central Nova
* Richard Marceau, Bloc Québécois MP for Charlesbourg
* Joe Comartin, New Democratic Party MP for Windsor-Tecumseh
* Julian Porter, Law Society of Upper Canada
* Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal John Richard, Canadian Judicial Council

The System: Why does the process and the result need new blood?

Input needed for the SCOC: Why?
Frost Hits the Rhubarb June 25, 2006: Mustn't deter the little darlings, eh?

SCOC: Day in jail enough for killer teen -- Jim Brown, June 22, 06

Frost Hits the Rhubarb June 21, 2006: June 21, 2006: Bud Talkinghorn: SCOC & Divorce -&- Open Minds

To return to the article: Toews criticized for new judge appointment reforms -- Canada's top judge, chief justices take Minister to task , Cristin Schmitz, CanWest, November 10, 2006

expressed dismay that Mr. Toews is planning to introduce "significant changes to the composition and functioning of the Judicial Advisory Committees," secret groups which are set up in each region to vet candidates for the 1,100 federal judgeships across the country. [....]

police representatives will be put on the judicial advisory committees.

And the Justice wouldn't want any law and order types upsetting the members of the system ... maybe with a little truth and realism? Maybe let the justices know what the little people think ... those who live amongst the perpetrators, the scum, the real world ... you know, Justice, the ones not cosseted by a driver and car, an unlisted address away from all the riff raff ... all the perqs that come with such elevated positions as appointed justices acquire ... Personally, I would add, positions that come from not upsetting the system ... that come to those with the correct political stripe.

Chief Justice McLachlin called on the minister to initiate an immediate process of consultation [.... Rather imperious, I would say. Consult with those who have been appointed and set the system up, the stakeholders, I assume]

Mr. Toews said, however, that "the law-enforcement process is a very important aspect of the justice system and to date, they have been underrepresented [....]

The council, an august body composed of the chief justices and associate chief justices of every superior court in the country, said "the Council is concerned that these changes, if made, will compromise the independence of the Advisory Committees ." [.... Surely that is a jest?]

The main criticism of the current vetting system .... Successive governments have appointed judges from those who are merely qualified, ignoring some of those ranked as highly qualified. [....]

The changes contemplated would "compromise the independence of the Advisory Committees" Independence? Does she think we're fools? Just consider the backgrounds and philosophical stances of the two justices appointed by Paul Martin, Abella and Charron. Impartial?

I have heard, on good authority, that the Supreme Justice does not consult as readily as she commands ... and accepts fawning obeisance ... generally acting as to the manor born. Perhaps I was misled.

Of course, the Justices would have the great unwashed believe that there have never been "secret groups ... set up in each region".

Give Canadians credit for some sense. Once someone is appointed, then continues the vetting, suggesting and influencing of the appointments, that person has a stake in the system and will perpetuate it. The rest of us do not travel in the same circles ... in effect, secret circles, to which we may not make input. Frankly, it is self-perpetuating and the justices are hypocritical with talk of the system becoming politicized if the law enforcement makes input. It is already a highly politicized system and it needs air.

Mr. Addario criticized Minister Toews in that he wants "to appoint judges who will arrive with an agenda". Does he believe the justices do not already have an agenda? I hope any new justices come with a different agenda, one with which the rest of us might be more pleased. The agenda with which the present justices arrived is not working.

Quotation: "ignoring some of those ranked as highly qualified"

That is rich. They probably were not espousing the right views ... were not "socially progressive" ... or not leftists or Liberals. Possibly they might have upset someone important ... and the system couldn't have that. Why, they might even support punishing corrupt politicians. ... Horrors!

No, Canada couldn't have that. Punish the little people ... or a scapegoat ... but not the top corrupto on the dung heap. No, we kick them upstairs to the pool of the really rich and powerful ... or make them ambassadors for Canada or business ... if that's not the same thing.


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