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The Politics of Judicial Appointment: Do Party Connections Impede the Appointment of Women to Canada's Federally Appointed Courts?

  • Erin Crandall (a1) and Andrea Lawlor (a2)

The influence of party connection on the selection of judges has long been an issue in Canada This article considers whether such connections adversely affect the appointment of women judges to federally appointed courts. The answer appears to be yes. Using political donations as a proxy for party connection, the data analyzed here suggest that as the number of appointees with connections to the government rises, the number of women appointees falls. However, for appointments to provincial courts by the government of Ontario, the prevalence of political connections among judicial appointees is less prominent, suggesting that different systems of judicial appointment may help to lessen these effects.

L’influence des relations avec les partis politiques sur la sélection des juges est une question qui se pose depuis longtemps au Canada. Cet article examine l’incidence défavorable que peuvent exercer ces pratiques sur la nomination de femmes juges aux Cours fédérales du Canada. Il semble bien qu’on doive répondre par l’affirmative. Les données analysées suggèrent que par la voie de dons politiques servant de couverture aux connexions avec les partis, plus le nombre des personnes nommées ayant des liens avec le gouvernement s’accroît, plus le nombre de femmes désignées baisse. Toutefois, en ce qui concerne les nominations aux cours provinciales effectuées par le gouvernement de l’Ontario, la prévalence des relations politiques parmi les candidats à la magistrature est moins prononcée, suggérant que des systèmes différents de nomination judiciaire peuvent contribuer à atténuer ces effets.

Corresponding author
Department of Politics, Acadia University, 10 Highland Avenue, Wolfville NS B4P 2R6, email:
Department of Political Science, King's University College, Western University, 266 Epworth Avenue, London ON, N6A 2M3, email:
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
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