Policy Preference Change and Appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada

Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 47, No. 1, pp. 1-46, 2009

46 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2007 Last revised: 4 Nov 2009

Benjamin Alarie

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Andrew James Green

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Abstract

Canadian Prime Ministers appoint judges to the Supreme Court of Canada at their own discretion. This practice has been criticized as providing Prime Ministers with the ability to appoint judges whose policy preferences are regarded as politically congenial. We examine the Court's judgments in the post-Charter era to discern the apparent policy preferences of the judges. Our results suggest that the policy preferences of judges are not strongly associated with the political party of the appointing Prime Minster and that their policy preferences shift over time in seemingly unpredictable ways. We discuss the implications of this analysis for possible reforms of the appointments process.

Keywords: Judicial Decisionmaking, Empirical Legal Studies, Supreme Court of Canada

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Alarie, Benjamin and Green, Andrew James, Policy Preference Change and Appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada. Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 47, No. 1, pp. 1-46, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1013560 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1013560

Benjamin Alarie (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

Jackman Law Building
78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-946-8205 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.utoronto.ca/faculty-staff/full-time-faculty/benjamin-alarie

Andrew James Green

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

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