Toronto lawyer challenges new Supreme Court Justice Marc Nadon's appointment

OTTAWA – A Toronto lawyer is going to court to challenge the newest appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Rocco Galati argues that Supreme Court Justice Marc Nadon — formerly a Federal Court of Appeal judge — does not qualify to fill one of three slots reserved for judges from Quebec on the top court.

Galati says only judges from Quebec’s appeals or superior courts, or lawyers who have belonged to the province’s bar for at least 10 years, can be appointed to the Supreme Court.

But former Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie wrote a legal opinion for the federal government in support of Nadon’s appointment.

A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Peter MacKay defended Nadon’s appointment.

“Justice Nadon is qualified and we are certain he will serve the court with distinction,” Paloma Aguilar wrote in an emailed statement.

“Constitutional experts agree that the Supreme Court Act allows for a sitting Federal Court judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada — this includes the opinion of former Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie.”

Galati is asking the court to compel the government to turn over Binnie’s legal opinion and any other advice it sought.

He is also seeking an interim order to stay Nadon’s appointment.

This is the second controversy that has cropped up around Nadon since Prime Minister Stephen Harper tapped him for the court less than two weeks ago.

The first kerfuffle came after he told a parliamentary committee the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings drafted him as a youngster.

He later clarified that the team never actually drafted him and that he was using the term in a much looser sense.

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