A historic nomination as Justice Mahmud Jamal becomes the first person of colour to be nominated for Canada’s Supreme Court
By Maryam Razzaq
Canada makes history as Justice Mahmud Jamal is nominated as the first person of colour to serve as a judge on the Supreme Court of Canada. Justice Jamal brings a unique perspective as a judge especially at a time when violent acts of racism and xenophobia continue to make headlines across Canada.
Justice Mahmud Jamal has been an Ontario Court of Appeal judge since 2019, after previously teaching at two of Canada’s top law schools and working for decades as a litigator. Justice Jamal has also appeared in 35 appeals before the Supreme Court of Canada.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced Jamal’s nomination mid-June, but all justices will go through a vetting process by the Canadian House of Commons before they are officially appointed as a judge.
“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” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Justice Jamal’s nomination is a historic step forward for Canada as the country moves towards diversity in the Supreme Court of Canada.
“As a child and youth, I was taunted and harassed because of my name, religion or the colour of my skin. These personal experiences have unavoidably exposed me to some of the challenges, interests and aspirations of immigrants and visible and religious minorities as they seek to integrate their families into Canada. These experiences of the diversity of Canadians have been broadened and deepened over the course of more than 20 years of professional life” said Justice Jamal.
In the wake of the recent racist attacks across Canada, Prime Minster Trudeau stated that many white Canadians have realized “to fact that the discrimination that is a lived reality for far too many of our fellow citizens is something that needs to end.”
“I encourage Canadians to stand up against racism, discrimination, and xenophobia whenever and wherever they occur. By working together, we can build a fairer, more inclusive, and better Canada for everyone” said Prime Minister Trudeau.
Justice Jamal will replace Justice Rosalie Abella, who is due to retire on July 1. His perspective will bring a level of diversity to the Canadian justice system at a time when Canada is confronting several racist attacks making headlines across the nation.