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Supreme Court nominee Malcolm Rowe faces MPs, senators at special committee

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pick for the top court, Newfoundlander Malcolm Rowe, will face questions from members of the House of Commons justice committee and the Senate’s committee on legal and constitutional affairs Tuesday.

CBCnews.ca will be carrying the event live starting at 11:15 a.m. ET. The event is taking place at the University of Ottawa’s Tabaret Hall Building.

The CBC’s John Paul Tasker will also be live tweeting the committee meeting. Follow it here.

The prime minister launched a new Supreme Court justice selection process this summer, appointing a group of lawyers and legal scholars to sort through applications for the bench.

The group, led by former prime minister Kim Campbell, drew up a list of five possible candidates and Trudeau ultimately picked Rowe, a justice who sits on Newfoundland and Labrador’s Court of Appeal. Rowe said in his application for the position that he is functionally bilingual.

The appointment is historic in that Newfoundland and Labrador has never had a representative on the Supreme Court since it joined Confederation in 1949.

Trudeau’s pick also neutralized criticism that the new nationwide appointment process would put an end to the convention of designating a seat on the top court for an Atlantic Canadian.

Prior to his appointment, Rowe worked as a senior bureaucrat and secretary to the provincial cabinet under Liberal Premier Brian Tobin.

In his application, Rowe said he sees an active role for the top court in crafting laws, rather than simply interpreting them.

“The Supreme Court is not, primarily, a court of correction. Rather, the role of the court is to make definitive statements of the law, which are then applied by trial judges and courts of appeal. Thus, the Supreme Court judges ordinarily make law, rather than simply applying it,” he wrote.

That contention is likely to face scrutiny from some members of the committee.