Monday, February 27, 2006

Supreme Court Nominee Corporate Shill

It turns out that besides the joy of being a waiter in his past life, like Kleins Brain Rod Love, Harpers nominee for the Supreme Court Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein, is a corporate shill.

In particular he takes a conservative view in favour of corporate rights in Intellectual Property Law, in particular he has supported the patenting of life. Which means those opposed to further development of corporatized food, like Monsanto's GMO's should be afraid, very afraid.

As technological law expert Michael Geist writes in todays Toronto Star;

In recent years Rothstein has emerged as a prominent jurist on intellectual property cases at the Federal Court of Appeal. His best-known decision is the Harvard mouse case, which addressed the question of whether higher life forms, in this case the "oncomouse," could be patented. Rothstein ruled that it could, concluding that there was nothing in the definition of "invention" under the Patent Act to preclude such patents. Rothstein has also presided over leading copyright and trademark cases. He wrote a concurring opinion in Law Society of Upper Canada v. CCH Canadian, a copyright case that focused on the photocopying of legal decisions. He sided with the majority in a high-profile trademark battle between Lego and Montreal-based Mega Blocks.

All of a sudden this 'new' political screening process for Supreme Court Justice nominees that will take only three hours looks far less threatening than some imagined. Despite being on TV this public preview suddenly looks tame despite initial fears it would end up looking like the American circus around their judicial appointments. In fact it is less threatening than the fact the PMO still maintains the power to appoint and veto Supreme Court appointees.

Canadians, however, should not have unrealistic expectations for Judge Rothstein's television premiere. The time allotted to each of the 12 MPs who will question him - 15 minutes - does not facilitate deep and probing conversations.

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