Document Type


Publication Date


Source Publication

Ottawa Law Review 52.1 (2021)


This short book review discusses The Tenth Justice: Judicial Appointments, Marc Nadon, and the Supreme Court Act Reference, by Professors Mathen and Plaxton. The “tenth justice” is Justice Marc Nadon, who was appointed from the Federal Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The appointment inspired the Supreme Court Reference and conclusion by a majority of the Court that their colleague – as Nadon was already sworn in – was not eligible to be appointed to one of Quebec’s three positions on the Court. The Tenth Justice offers an excellent, high-level primer on Justice Nadon’s appointment and its fallout, the pivotal questions of statutory interpretation at stake, the Reference decision – including Moldaver J.’s dissent – and the decision’s political, legal, and institutional aftermath – including Prime Minister Harper’s attack on then Chief Justice McLachlin. Scholarship spotlighting landmark Supreme Court decisions and extraordinary moments in institutional history is invaluable, and The Tenth Justice is recommended reading for scholars and students of Canadian constitutional law.