Only in America: Supreme Court appointment process is like no other, writes U of T’s Adam Goldenberg in Maclean’s

Photo of Trump announcing pick for U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh speaks while his family and U.S. President Donald Trump listen after the announcement of his nomination at the White House on July 9 (photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

All eyes are on Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick for Supreme Court justice – a move that could inform the direction of America’s highest court for decades.

The public and media attention on the latest U.S. Supreme Court nomination is uniquely American, writes Adam Goldenberg, an adjunct professor at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, in Maclean’s magazine.

“Where else do individual high court judges so often become household names, or the subject of breaking news, or grist for the political mill?” he writes.

Few Canadians, on the other hand, follow the news closely when Supreme Court of Canada justices are appointed, or when a ruling is made, writes Goldenberg, who is also a trial and appellate lawyer in Toronto.

So what makes America's judicial system different? Goldenberg explores the culture around partisanship, the way conservative legal talent is fostered, and scrutiny around the politics of justice appointments. 

"The way the United States chooses its judges is, by the standards of any other democracy committed to the rule of law, is utterly insane," he concludes. "But Americans are used to it. And, watching from a distance, so are we."

Read more in Maclean's


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