The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected Prime Minister Stephen Harper's latest appointment to its ranks by a 6-1 margin, in a stinging rebuke of the Conservative government.
The court said that Marc Nadon, the semi-retired Federal Court of Appeal judge from Quebec, is not eligible to sit on the court because he does not meet the specific requirements for the jurists appointed from that particular province.
The high court also said a key feature of the Conservatives bill that last year amended the Supreme Court Act was unconstitutional.
The court said Parliament cannot unilaterally change the composition of the Supreme Court because its essential features are constitutionally protected under the Constitution Act.
Nadon was declared ineligible because he came from the Federal Court and did not meet the criteria of either coming from the Quebec Superior Court, the Quebec Court of Appeal, or being a current member of the Quebec bar.
The court's opinion affects only Quebec appointments, which means there is no effect on the current Supreme Court Justice Marshall Rothstein of Manitoba, whom Harper appointed from the Federal Court of Appeal in 2006.