[JURIST] Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website] on Monday appointed a new judge [press release] to the Supreme Court of Canada [official website] to fill an eight-month vacancy, bypassing public parliamentary hearings established in 2006 and blaming the move on opposition obstruction. Public hearings for the vacancy now being filled by Justice Thomas Cromwell, previously of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal [official website] , were delayed [CP report] when creation of the all-party parliamentary committee was stalled by the election campaign and again when Harper suspended parliament [JURIST report] until the new year to avoid a no-confidence vote. Last month, the first meeting of the Selection Panel considered no substantive business because of Opposition objection to the panels composition. Cromwell will be sworn in [press release] on January 5.
Harper added parliamentary public hearings [JURIST report] to the high court vetting process in 2006 for his first Supreme Court appointment, that of Manitoba lawyer Marshall Rothstein. Harper officially nominated [press release] Cromwell to his post in September after the deliberations of the panel to vet the candidates were cut short.