Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trudeau Nominates First Newfoundlander, Justice Malcolm Rowe, to Supreme Court

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trudeau Nominates First Newfoundlander, Justice Malcolm Rowe, to Supreme Court

Article excerpt

Supreme Court gets first Newfoundlander judge


OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has used a new nomination process to appoint the first born-and-bred Newfoundlander to the bench of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Justice Malcolm Rowe will join the eight other justices on the country's top court pending a public review and interview next week by parliamentarians.

Rowe, born in St. John's, N.L., in 1953, was plucked from a non-binding shortlist prepared from a list of applicants by an independent panel -- a system Trudeau introduced in August to end what he called "a secretive backroom process."

Rowe brings a wealth of experience working in government, private practice and as a jurist, including constitutional matters, foreign relations, the arbitration of maritime boundaries, and the negotiation of conventional law through the United Nations.

He's also bilingual -- a new prerequisite for the top court that the Liberals insisted upon as part of the new selection process.

"I am greatly excited to announce the nomination of Mr. Justice Malcolm Rowe, whose remarkable depth of legal experience in criminal, constitutional, and public law will complement the extensive knowledge of the other Supreme Court justices," Trudeau said in a release.

Dwight Ball, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, called Rowe's nomination "a moment of great pride" for the province.

"This historic nomination is recognition of the quality of our judicial system and the extraordinary jurists who preside over our courts," Ball said in a statement.

It was Trudeau's first Supreme Court appointment. The next scheduled vacancy on the bench comes in September 2018, when Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75.

Rowe, who was first named a trial judge in 1999 and has been a judge of the provincial court of appeal since 2001, replaces Justice Thomas Cromwell, previously a Nova Scotia Court of Appeal justice, who retired last month.

Trudeau caused some consternation when he cast open the appointment process this summer by inviting applications from across Canada for a vacancy that, by tradition, has been held by an Atlantic Canadian.

The goal, he said, was to find candidates "representative of the diversity of our great country" -- including an emphasis on indigenous and minority group legal minds.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said diversity remains a goal, and pointed to McLachlin's retirement in 2018.

"I know that across the country there are many indigenous jurists, lawyers, that could fit the criteria to be on the highest court," Wilson Raybould said outside the Commons.

"There is, with the retirement of Madam Chief Justice McLachlin, an opportunity to go through this process in 2018, and I think the process worked very well."

The wide casting call prompted the Atlantic Provinces Trial Lawyers Association to launch a challenge last month seeking a constitutional amendment if the federal government wanted to drop the regional convention on the top court. …

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