National Post

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Saturday, August 28, 1999

Signs of the times
Nine clones
National Post

Antonio Lamer, the imperious chief justice of Canada's Supreme Court, announced his retirement last weekend. Judge Lamer told reporters he hopes new appointments to the court will maintain its current diversity.

How diverse is that, exactly?

With the ascension of Louise Arbour to the court this fall, the nine-judge court will consist of no fewer than five francophones, many with impeccable Liberal pedigrees. Judge Michel Bastarache, for example, hails from Jean Chretien's old law firm, and co-chaired a political campaign during Charlottetown.

Yes, it would be nice to have some diversity of opinion on the court: perhaps a judge or two who believed in constructionism, the philosophy of interpreting laws as they are, not how judges wish they were. But with our system of choosing top judges -- a secretive political process determined by the prime minister -- that won't happen any time soon.

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