POLITICS

Timeline of events in the latest Supreme Court of Canada appointment

11/10/2013 02:05 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
OTTAWA - A timeline of events in the recent appointment of a Supreme Court judge:

April 22, 2013 — Justice Morris Fish of Quebec announces he will be retiring, effective Aug. 31, in advance of his 75th birthday, mandatory retirement age for the court.

Aug. 17 — Justice Minister Peter MacKay publicly raises the issue of addressing provisions in the Supreme Court Act "that could be interpreted as excluding federal judges from Supreme Court appointments."

Sept. 9 — Former Supreme Court judge Ian Binnie responds to a Justice Department request with an eight-page written opinion concluding: "In my view there is nothing in the Supreme Court of Canada Act that would prevent the direct appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada of a judge of the Federal Court of Canada or the Federal Court of Appeal."

Sept. 30 — Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces nomination of Justice Marc Nadon of the Federal Court of Appeal to fill the Quebec vacancy on the top court.

Oct. 2 — Nadon appears before a parliamentary committee, where he says he was drafted as a 14-year-old by the Detroit Red Wings. The judge later clarified that he used the term loosely and was not drafted by the NHL organization.

Oct. 3 — Nadon formally named to the Supreme Court.

Oct. 8 — Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati challenges constitutionality of Nadon's appointment, seeks interim order to stay appointment. Nadon agrees not to hear cases until the legal challenge is resolved.

Oct. 9 — Quebec's intergovernmental affairs minister Alexandre Cloutier calls the process for appointing Nadon "absurd" and says it deprives the province of proper representation on the court while important cases are heard.

Oct. 12 — Quebec's bar association asks the prime minister to refer Galati's challenge directly to the Supreme Court.

Oct. 17 — The Quebec government says it also intends to contest Nadon's nomination.

Oct. 22 — The Conservative government tables a budget implementation bill that includes a "declaratory provision ... meant simply to clarify" appointments under the Supreme Court Act. The government also announces it will seek a reference from the court on the constitutionality of Nadon's appointment.

Oct. 31 — Justice Minister Peter MacKay publishes newspaper op-ed calling Nadon "an eminently qualified jurist" and defending the nomination process as "non-partisan, transparent and accountable." The Canadian Press reports Nadon has already taken up residence in his new office at the Supreme Court.

Nov. 1 — The Supreme Court writes to all Canada's attorneys general informing them that Nadon will not have contact with members of the court, will not participate in any work of the court, and "will not occupy his office or attend at the court" until the reference on his appointment is resolved. The measures are designed to "ensure that justice is both done and is seen to be done in an independent and impartial manner."

Future Dates:

Nov. 12 — Hearings begin on the government's Supreme Court reference on Senate reform. The court will sit with eight judges, raising the possibility of a split decision.

Jan. 15, 2014 — Hearing scheduled for the legal challenge to, and the government's reference on, the constitutionality of Nadon's appointment.