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
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: Suggested Citation