The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Newest member of the Supreme Court sworn in in low key private ceremony

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OTTAWA - The newest member of the Supreme Court of Canada was sworn in Thursday in a quiet private ceremony.

A news release from the Supreme Court of Canada released Friday evening said Justice Clement Gascon was sworn in as a judge on the High Court before Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin a day earlier.

The release said a "formal welcome ceremony" will take place on a date to be announced.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Gascon's appointment last week.

The Quebec appeal court justice didn't appear before a parliamentary committee as the selection process is being reviewed because of the controversy over the botched appointment of Marc Nadon.

A court challenge of Nadon's appointment resulted in a ruling that the Federal Court of Appeal judge didn't meet the specific criteria for Quebec judges laid out in the Supreme Court Act.

The behind-the-scenes details of the appointment process involving Nadon bubbled to the surface, exposing an unprecedented — and very public — spat between McLachlin and the Prime Minister's Office.

The Conservatives suggested McLachlin inappropriately tried to make contact with Harper to discuss potential legal problems with Nadon's appointment.

The comment prompted many members of Canada's legal community to jump to McLachlin's defence and condemn Harper's handling of the matter.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay's office said the appointment process, initiated in 2004 by the previous Liberal government, was under review as a result of "recent leaks'' — an apparent reference to a Globe and Mail report that gave details of the shortlist of candidates that included Nadon's name.

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