Prime Minister announces appointment of Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein to the Supreme Court

Prime Minister Harper with the Minister of Justice.
Ottawa, Ontario
1 March 2006

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada has approved his recommendation to appoint Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Justice Rothstein’s appointment follows an appearance before the Ad Hoc Committee to Review a Nominee for the Supreme Court of Canada on February 27th, the first time such a process has been used to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

“I am confident that Mr. Justice Rothstein will make an exceptional Supreme Court judge, and I congratulate him on his appointment,” said the Prime Minister.  “The way in which Justice Rothstein was appointed marks an historic change in how we appoint judges in this country.  It brought unprecedented openness and accountability to the process.  The hearings allowed Canadians to get to know Justice Rothstein through their members of Parliament in a way that was not previously possible.”

The Prime Minister thanked all members of the ad hoc committee, which reviewed Justice Rothstein’s appointment, for their participation in the process.

Justice Rothstein replaces Justice John Major, who retired in December 2005.  The appointment is effective immediately.

The hearing by the Ad Hoc Committee to Review a Nominee for the Supreme Court of Canada was an interim process designed to fill the specific vacancy left by Justice Major.  Full details of a process to fill future vacancies will be announced at a future date.

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Born December 25, 1940 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Marshall Rothstein earned Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degrees at the University of Manitoba. He was called to the Bar of Manitoba in 1966.

In private practice, he concentrated in the fields of administrative law and litigation, primarily transportation and competition law; he also conducted commercial and labour arbitrations. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1979.

From 1978 to 1983, Marshall Rothstein was an adjudicator under the Manitoba Human Rights Act and from 1986 to 1992, a member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.  In the early 1980s, he served as Chair of the Province of Manitoba’s Commission on Compulsory Retirement and in 1990-1991, as Chair of the Government of Canada’s Ministerial Task Force on International Air Policy. As well, he lectured in transportation and contract law at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law for over 20 years.

Justice Rothstein was appointed to the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division in June 1992, after which he also served as an ex officio member of the Appeal Division, a Judge of the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and a Judicial Member of the Competition Tribunal.  In January 1999, he was elevated to the Federal Court of Canada, Appeal Division, which was renamed the Federal Court of Appeal in 2003.

Justice Rothstein is married to Sheila Rothstein née Dorfman of Montreal and they have four children.