Friday, November 10, 2006

Mangling The Judiciary

It seems that the resident sub-geniuses currently occupying the seat of control in the Justice ministry wish to start turning the judiciary into some form of semi-populist creature that's as close to "elected" as they can make it.

According to Vic Toews:

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 in that process. We are getting all the names in place so that this can commence fairly quickly."


Let's be clear on something - our police forces are semi-military organizations with a high degree of knowledge about dealing with the law on the street. They are, however, not lawyers per se. This isn't to say that they are not knowledgeable, but simply they are not qualified to evaluate the qualifications of lawyers whose names are put forward as candidates for the bench.

Of course, our knuckle-brained Justice Minister doesn't see that - he sees an opportunity to turn the judiciary in Canada into something that more closely resembles the elected judiciary problem that exists in the United States. (You know the one - where the county judge is always looking over his shoulder about the next election, instead of actually interpreting the law - both in letter and spirit)

Notably, the current system is understood to have its flaws, most notably:

The main criticism of the current vetting system has not been the composition of the committees, but how the government chooses from the pools of candidates it has ranked. Successive governments have appointed judges from those who are merely qualified, ignoring some of those ranked as highly qualified.

It is far too easy for marginal candidates to be ranked as qualified, Mr. Russell said. "Right now, they just screen out the utterly incompetent," he said. "If you are in Kingston Penitentiary or something like that, you don't make the list, but that's about it."

Most of those pushing for reform insist that the government should be obliged to choose only from the pool of candidates ranked as very qualified.


In other words, the problem is the fact that the politicians who make the final decisions aren't obliged to select the most qualified candidates in the first place. So...how does Toews' little manipulation address that issue? It doesn't.

4 comments:

Wayne said...

"the problem is the fact that the politicians who make the final decisions aren't obliged to select the most qualified candidates in the first place."

Agreed.

Maybe a new hybrid system will help.

The biggest complaint comes from lawyers who benefit from the current appointment process.

Talk about skewed.

Grog said...

Maybe a new hybrid system will help.

That isn't what Toews is proposing - he's simply adding people to the list that aren't themselves qualified to evaluate a prospective judge's capabilities.

If you will, what Toews is proposing is like demanding that EMS personnel evaluate whether are surgeon should be licensed to perform surgeries.

The biggest complaint comes from lawyers who benefit from the current appointment process.

Talk about skewed.


Umm...that isn't "skewed" - at least not in a perjorative sense - it's called introspection. The politicians are the ones making the final call, and they are appointing marginal candidates.

Wayne said...

I think lawyers & judges are in an "ivory tower" and far removed from reality. I think we need police input to help fix the justice system.

I don't believe that lawyers can have in "introspection"
they are just trying to win a case not serve justice.

Great article from the police side of things.

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=10f4fa02-19e4-4bf3-b46b-d446dc83b2da&k=22068

Grog said...

I think we need police input to help fix the justice system.

Okay, I'm going to put you on the spot. What's broken with the judicial system?

Start enumerating the list.