It’s Quebec or Harper as Supreme Court decides Judge Marc Nadon’s fate

Marc Nadon finds out Friday whether his tenure as a member of the Supreme Court of Canada will come to an end before he hears a single case.

If that isn’t precedent-setting enough, Nadon will still make history as the first member of the country’s highest court who’s there because his peers decided he was entitled to join them.

It’s an extraordinary situation with far-reaching implications for the court itself, for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and maybe even for Quebec’s place in Canada.

“It’s an important case because it will tell us something about the way the distinct character of Quebec is protected by the Constitution,”

For Nadon, a former Federal Court judge, it’s more than a little awkward to be the subject of a court case rather than the one interpreting the law.

But for Stephen Harper, the risks are twofold. One is the potential embarrassment of a finding that your hand-picked choice doesn’t meet the requirements for judges appointed from Quebec.

The other is that, if you do win and the court decides in Nadon’s favour, you may be giving support to the separatist side in the midst of a closely fought Quebec election.

Harper has never been averse to risks, and more often than not these days his calculations have little to do with the impact in Quebec, where the Conservatives hold just a handful of seats.

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This content has been updated on August 23, 2014 at 12:19.