Political Accountability in Appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada


  • John D Whyte




There are many issues related to the method and formal structure of a hearing process. There are also legitimate concerns about the damage that might be done to the Supreme Court or the judicial branch generally by hearings, chiefly the risk of political partisanship in the review process, which might be perpetuated through politically partisan conflict among the members of the Court. Neither the issues of implementation nor strategies for reducing the risks of injuring the Supreme Court’s reputation or eroding confidence in the legal process through coarse politicization of a hearing process are addressed in this paper, although they are hardly insignificant concerns. The matters discussed in this article are, first, the case for instituting legislative hearings and, second, assessing the value of hearings in terms in light of the types of questions that can properly be explored in hearings before a parliamentary committee.