Today’s Terror Hearing

The Supreme Court of Canada hasn’t has much of a chance to look closely at the legalities and constitutionality of post-September 11, 2001 legislation and systems to deal with terrorist threats. Canada’s top court is looking at the constitutional challenge to the “security certificate” process over the next three daysFor background see CTV’s site , Radio-Canada and the CBC’s backgrounder.

The legal background of the cases have been relatively little disclosed. Adil Charkaoui’s legal team has posted his factum, and the Harkat team have done the same. Among the intervenors, see the BC Civil Liberties Association factum. The Supreme Court of Canada has an impressive list of documentsSee also the second case filed. filedBut without any actual links to texts.

As Jim Travers of the Toronto Star put it:

Despite appearances, this confrontation isn’t rooted in the lengthy detentions of Adil Charkoui, Mohammed Harkat and Hassan Almrei. Instead, the deeper cause is an intelligence service at odds with a system that lets rejected refugees linger in Canada for years and sometimes decades.

The legal background is well described in the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association Brief to Parliament.

Of course, Canadian courts do not stand aloneThere are some useful comparative surveys available. Lord Hoffmann and his colleagues on the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords have started to probe the constitutional dimensions of the anti-terrorism initiatives in the A decision and the R decision. In the US Supreme Court, see Rasul v. Bush, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, and Rumsfeld v. Padilla, which have pushed back some of the most extreme of the Bush/Cheney administration’s initiatives. More recently the Roberts court has rejected the certiorari applicationsSee the blog discussions too. in PadillaThis is the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision v. HanftThough not without some controversy – see Justice Ginsburg’s dissent and Justice Kennedy’s justification of the majority denial.

As the week progresses, we’ll cover the court’s questioning. And if you want a different take, try the alternatives to the mainstream’s English language coverage is getting better and better

Comments are closed.