Indian-origin Justice Mahmud Jamal has been nominated to the Supreme Court of Canada, becoming the first person of colour to be named to the country’s apex court.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Jamal’s nomination on June 17 to replace the retiring Rosalie Silberman Abella, the first refugee and first Jewish woman to sit on the top court.
“I am pleased to announce the nomination of Justice Mahmud Jamal to the Supreme Court of Canada. I know that Justice Jamal, with his exceptional legal and academic experience and dedication to serving others, will be a valuable asset to our country’s highest court,” Trudeau said in a statement.
Justice Jamal had a distinguished career as a litigator with a deep commitment to pro bono work prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2019, the note from prime minister’s office stated.
He appeared in 35 appeals before the Supreme Court of Canada on civil, constitutional, criminal, and regulatory issues. He also taught constitutional law at McGill University and administrative law at Osgoode Hall Law School. He is bilingual, the note added.
Justice Jamal, born in Kenya to a family originally from India, was raised in England and completed high school in Edmonton. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law degrees from the Faculty of Law, McGill University, and a Master of Laws from Yale Law School, which he attended on a Fulbright Scholarship. He served as law clerk to Justice Melvin Rothman of the Quebec Court of Appeal and Justice Charles Gonthier of the Supreme Court of Canada.
In a questionnaire submitted as part of his application to the Supreme Court, Jamal said: “I was raised at school as a Christian, reciting the Lord’s Prayer and absorbing the values of the Church of England, and at home as a Muslim, memorising Arabic prayers from the Quran and living as part of the Ismaili community.”