Best presentation I’ve seen: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on “dark money” influencing USA Supreme Court appointments

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse speaks during hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett 28:40 Min. Oct 13, 2020, PBS News Hour

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., did not pose any questions to Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Using poster board displays, Whitehouse argued that Barrett’s nomination reflects a pattern by conservative special interest groups of using “dark money” to influence who sits on the court. In Canada too? It’s the second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. The Oct. 13 hearing comes three weeks before Election Day. The second of four days of scheduled testimony gave senators an opportunity to ask Barrett about her record and approach to the law.

‘Political vetting’ of appointments threatens public faith in judiciary, says bar association, ‘It is time to make the system less open to manipulation,’ says letter from CBA president by Daniel Leblanc, CBC News, Nov 09, 2020

One of the country’s most prominent legal advocacy groups is criticizing the Trudeau government’s judicial appointment process, saying the “political vetting of candidates” could undermine Canadians’ trust in the judiciary.

In an open letter dated Nov. 6, the Canadian Bar Association said the federal process is “open to speculation about political interference” — echoing opposition critics’ accusations about the government’s extensive background checks on candidates for judicial office.

“It is time to make the system less open to manipulation,” says the letter, signed by CBA president Brad Regehr.

As previously reported by CBC/Radio Canada, the federal government uses the Liberal Party of Canada’s private database — called Liberalist — in the vetting process for would-be judges, allowing the government to learn the full extent of a candidate’s financial contributions to the party. The database states whether and when someone was a member of the Liberal Party and whether they participated in electoral campaigns or leadership races.

The CBA said there is nothing wrong with lawyers making financial contributions to various political parties, but those donations should not be factored into the selection of new judges.

“By continuing a process that is open to speculation about political interference, the government risks eroding the confidence of the public in the independence and fairness of the justice system itself — particularly in marginalized communities that already feel the system doesn’t work for them,” the letter said.

Feel or think? Feelings minimize the many problems of political (and thereby rich and industrial) meddling in the judicial industry. I’ve experienced too many lawyers (all were men) trying to claim my thoughts are feelings and trivialize them that way. The problems are bigger than just for the marginalized. How many wealthy, white-privileged Canadians do you know can afford to sacrifice more than one million dollars to pay lawyers and associated costs, and endure unbearable stress for decades, just to try to find a door named “Access to Justice,” which the judicial industry (paid by us) and our politicians (paid by us) intentionally set up to slam shut if you do by some miracle find it – including your own lawyers (in my case, Murray Klippenstein and Cory Wanless) breaking the rules and abruptly quitting after 11 years, refusing to return your files (even though you paid all their invoices promptly and in full), leaving you and your lawsuit suffocating in a full septic tank? If you are lucky enough to find and get through a door, and win in court, but refused along the way to settle and gag (and sacrifice your right to Freedom of Expression), you’ll likely be financially bankrupted by the court ordering you to pay your opponents’ legal fees – even if you win! Fair? Independent? Our judicial industry is ill, but so are our regulating, policing, legal and political industries.

In the House last week, Justice Minister David Lametti said that judicial appointments are based on merit Pffffft!and the goal of increasing diversity in Canadian courtrooms.In 500 years or so? He said the reforms introduced by the Liberal government in 2016 were aimed at depoliticizing the process — in large part by relying on candidate assessments  made by Judicial Advisory Committees. I’ve learned not to believe what Canadian politicians and judges say or write. Too much hanky panky and too many secrets.

“We changed Roaring laughter! and improved the judicial appointment process precisely because the former Conservative government was making very partisan appointments,” he said. “Yes, we do hold consultations, but they are broad-based, thorough consultations with the entire legal community. I am very proud of the quality and diversity of the appointments I have made.”

‘A potential for scandal’

… In its open letter, the CBA added that the vetting process conducted by various federal officials has hindered the government’s ability to quickly fill vacancies in courts across the country.

“It can be argued that the political vetting of judicial applicants — which happens after the Judicial Advisory Committees have made their recommendations [of which lawyers are qualified for a nomination] — has been a factor in the number of vacancies on the bench, which is a direct contributor to court delays and the access to justice crisis in Canada,” said the CBA’s letter.

Refer also to:

2020: Judicial Hanky Panky Supreme: “these robed sages are in fact mere grubby politicians….” Amy Coney Barrett’s dad was lawyer at Shell (for decades) that has massive climate case before US supreme court. “And just like Republican politicians, the conservative judges are dedicated to preserving the right’s minority rule.”

2020: Legal scholar, Joshua Sealy-Harrington nails Canada’s unjust judicial industry: “The ‘fetishisation’ of procedure and a disregard for outcomes has routinely created injustice in Canadian society … Procedure can be weaponized to foster substantive inequality

2020 11 03: Brad Regehr of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in Saskatchewan becomes first Indigenous person to lead Canada’s 124-year-old Bar Association

2020: How low can a Minister of “justice” go and how thick grows rot in lawfirms?

2020: Alberta resident: “Didn’t think it could get any worse than ex-Alberta ‘Justice’ Minister Jonathan Denis but appears our new Minister operates believing the Criminal Code of Canada and Charter of Rights are subservient to the Book of Mormon.” Democracy Watch urges ethics commission to investigate Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer for clearly violating conflict-of-interest law. Authorities shattering the ball, as usual

2020: “Boys will be boys.” Call it by its name. White Male Terrorism. Misogynistic Violence. Femicides run rampant in rural Canada; Misogyny seethes in our politicians, the judges they appoint, our police, regulators, academia, the legal industry, oil & gas industry …

2020: Gillian Hnatiw, Canadian lawyer, female: “Fundamentally, the law is about power – who has it, who gets it, and how they are allowed to wield it. … Yet evidence of misogyny remains all around us. Lest anyone forget, there is a self-confessed sexual predator in the White House. … In Canada, we’re not faring a whole lot better…. All of our political leaders are men.

2019 07 23: Secrets & lies by AER & Alberta govt to cover-up Encana’s secrets, lies & frac crimes; Supreme Court of Canada in the cover-up business too? Top Court signs pact to keep records of deliberations secret for at least 50 years; Reserves right to keep some secret forever

2019: Where has Justice gone? Into pockets of law-violating politicians that appoint the judges?

2017 04 21: Former cabinet ministerVic Toews, appointed to Court of Queen’s Bench by Harper gov’t, broke the law again: “No authority to issue any penalties for the violations.” Will he remain a judge? Of course! In Corrupt Canada, anything goes on the bench (seems misogynistic, abusive, racist, law-violating traits are especially preferred)!

2016: Justice understood? Or are some lawyers and the Canadian Bar Association wanting to silence the many Canadians concerned with the serious access to justice problems in Canada?

2015: AER Duty of Care Anywhere? Judge decries chaos, uncertainty around liability of public authorities: “Such a low standard would immunize government from liability in every case of bureaucratic ineptitude, no matter how substandard or damaging the misconduct may be. No court anywhere has set the bar that low.” Except in Alberta?

2015: White, male lawyers should say ‘no’ to judicial appointments

2015: Scary! Stephen Harper’s courts: How the judiciary in Canada has been remade

2015 01 13: Peter MacKay’s friends, colleagues make up 6 of 9 judge appointeesMany recent members of Nova Scotia judiciary have political, professional or personal ties to MacKay

2015 01 03: Public pays millions for legal fees of federal judges under investigation, Judges in trouble have unlimited funding to fight disciplinary action against them

2014 07 03: Do Peter MacKay’s claims about female judges hold water?

2014 06 19: MacKay compared to paternal 1950s TV characters with female judge comments

2014 03 07: Vic Toews appointment by Harper government seems to set new standard for blatant patronage

2014: Harper government appoints two far right law profs as judges to Ontario courts; One is Grant Huscroft, reportedly “anti-Charter [of Rights] and basically, anti-equality rights” Keep in mind that Steve Harper leads KKKenney by his nose & CAPP ‘n the oil patch leads KKKenney by his penis.

2014 (Updated 2020): Is Jason Kenney Too Extreme for the Conservatives? The Alberta politician is a contender to lead the country, but he may not be interested in courting the centre

… Tasked with keeping a lid on unemployment rates that could threaten Harper’s claims of faultless economic management, he was also faced with mollifying the party’s corporate backers, who complained that a labour shortage was putting the brakes on their mining and pipeline building binge. There was no doubt that it was a vital portfolio, overseeing employment insurance and the Canada Pension Plan—programs Kenney had once railed against at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation—but it was not exactly the fast track to 24 Sussex Drive.

Addressing a roomful of resource industry executives, he confronted the thankless task of pointing out that if it was skills training they were after, it was time to “put more skin in the game.” The government’s own ballyhooed attempt at a solution—the contentious Canada Job Grant program, which Kenney was saddled with in Flaherty’s 2013 budget—had been stalled for a year in a seemingly intractable standoff with the provinces. When word leaked out that the government had lavished $2.5 million on an ad campaign lauding the plan’s merits when it did not yet exist, CBC’s Rick Mercer unleashed a gleeful rant dubbing Kenney the minister in charge of “pretend programs,” marvelling that “we have entered a world of unicorns and magic beans.”

A year later, another skirmish materialized at a campus fair, where Laurie Moore and two classmates from the Women’s Law Student Association had set up a table to collect signatures for a national abortion rights petition. Kenney and a male posse converged on them, demanding that they clear out. “It was very intimidating,” Moore says in a phone interview from San Francisco. “We knew we had to go—we were afraid—but we knew this was wrong.” … In the winter of 1989, when the university announced its new policy confirming students’ right to free speech—even their right to advocate abortion—Kenney was incensed.

… As media crews descended on the campus, Kenney emerged as the chief defender of conservative Catholic tradition. In a CNN clip that identifies him as an “anti-abortion activist,” he looks more like an overgrown choirboy….

Over the years, Kenney would keep up his ties to Fessio and his former allies in that tumultuous struggle over who or what institutions had the right to call themselves Catholic.

Two years ago, amid the outcry over Kenney’s decision to cut back health care for unsponsored refugees, his office issued an angry riposte, declaring that Canadians did not want “bogus refugee claimants receiving gold-plated health care benefits that are better than those Canadian taxpayers receive.” For some on Parliament Hill, that phrase had a distinctly familiar ring.

… While previous governments stressed family reunification, Kenney froze all applications from parents or grandparents for two years, then slapped on a minuscule annual quota—a curious move for a professed champion of family values. Instead, he offered a ten-year “super visa,” leaving no doubt that he viewed the elderly as a drain on the public purse. Under its terms, children must buy a year’s worth of health insurance for their parents, even if they only visit for two weeks. In communities where grandparents often provide free child care, enabling young couples to work, those provisions have turned into an insurmountable Catch-22. “For those already struggling in Canada, they see the super visa as a joke,” Sims says. “There is a feeling of betrayal.”

… While he may hanker to tackle old peeves, such as employment insurance or the Canada Pension Plan, friends predict that he won’t dare touch those potential career killers until after the next election—not with talk of a leadership bid in the air. “It’s too controversial,” says Monte Solberg.

… Later, when he was handed the multicultural file, one of his first acts was to commission a study by the head of a conservative Christian think tank, which called for faith groups to play a greater role in policy making. In that paper, titled “Taking a Fresh Look at Religion and Public Policy in Canada: The Need for a Paradigm Shift,” Iain Benson argued against separation of church and state, as spelled out in the US Constitution. “An appropriate way forward for Canada is the co-operation of church and state,” he wrote. As Kenney told the National Catholic Register three years ago, “It’s important in a liberal democracy that people of faith not be excluded from participating in a democratic debate.” …

2013: Appointment of judges politically biased in Alberta, critics say, Process favours candidates with ties to the PC party

2009 02 12: The Intimidation of Ernst: Members of Harper Government’s Anti-terrorist Squad Intimidate and Harass Ernst after her Legal Papers were Served on Encana, the EUB (now AER) and Alberta Environment

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