Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017: Committee Stage (Resumed)
I will comment on amendment No. 85b. This is the territory around which we have been debating all afternoon the amendments of Senator Bacik and Senator McDowell.To be fair to Senator McDowell, he has indicated on all occasions and at every remove in the course of this legislation both in here and outside, his implacable opposition to the concept of any serving member of the Judiciary, in particular serving members of the superior courts, having to put their names forward for consideration before the independent commission. I reiterate the constitutional position in the matter of the recommendation of names to the President. The nomination of names for consideration by the President for service on the Judiciary is in no way being adversely interfered with by any aspect of this Bill no more than it was by the setting up of the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board, JAAB, some 20 years ago. That is clear. I do not agree with the constitutional issues to which Senator McDowell repeatedly refers, having regard to the fact that the Government's discretion on the appointment of judges is still very much in evidence, and that is written right through the legislation. We have been treated yet again to the rather fanciful and dramatic spectre of the Attorney General committing criminal offences and being led in handcuffs from the Cabinet.