Saturday, February 18, 2006

Partisan Political Process?

An excerpt from the Gazette:
Toews has said he is counting on the maturity of parliamentarians to ensure the process doesn't become a partisan political circus, as it has in the United States.

Let's dispense with this bit of conventional wisdom, please. Just what about the recent confirmations of Roberts and Alito (or, for that matter, Ginsburg or Breyer) could rightfully be considered a circus? And when Bush attempted to nominate his own lawyer, Harriet Miers, it was the fact that the decision needed approval that resulted in a seriously unqualified nominee from getting appointed directly to the highest bench.

This is not to say that Canada should mirror the American approach. We should, however, stop with the smugness over our system that leaves such a decision solely in the hands of one individual. Kudos to Harper and Toewes for taking the initial steps down that road. Here's hoping they (or future governments) go further. Also kudos to the Conservatives for the practical decision of going with the Liberal shortlist. So much for "progressive" fears of a Harper government on that front.


Blogger The Tiger said...

The last SCOTUS confirmation hearing that could rightly be called a circus was Robert Bork's. Clarence Thomas's hearing, theatrical though it was, highlighted a substantial concern about the nominee.

Some of the lower-court nominee filibustering -- both in the 1990s and in the 2000s -- has been reprehensible.

Are the benefits worth the costs of an open confirmation process like that? As regards the Supreme Court of either country, I would say yes.

With regard to lower appointments, I would remove the symbolic filibuster in the US Senate. (In other words, if someone wants to keep on talking, using the traditional filibuster, I'd say that's A-OK, but letting 41 senators block a court appointment is not so good.) Mind you, after the gang of 14 deal, this is pretty much a dead issue.

12:43 AM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

But with Canada:

Really though, is the Harper/Toews proposal anything more than window-dressing?

The committee can't defeat the nominee, who is still appointed solely on Prime Minister Harper's whim.

It's better window-dressing than Martin's window-dressing, but it's window-dressing all the same...

12:46 AM  

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