Justice Mahmud Jamal made history after being appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada last year, becoming the first person of color to occupy a seat in the highest court in the country.

Ahead of his one-year anniversary on the court this July, Jamal spoke with CTV National News National Affairs Correspondent Omar Sachedina to reflect on his past year on the bench and to talk about the importance of race and representation in law.

“Every judge has a responsibility in the office, but certainly I felt a responsibility to the people who are looking up to me who don’t know me, but they’re looking up to me in terms of the role in the office and what it means to them,” Jamal told Sachedina.

Jamal was born in Kenya to a family of Indian heritage and grew up in England before his family settled in Edmonton, where he attended high school. He went on to obtain an economics degree at the University of Toronto and studied law at McGill University and Yale Law School.

After serving on the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Jamal marked his first day on the Supreme Court on Canada Day in 2021, replacing retiring Justice Rosalie Abella.

“Justice Mahmud Jamal occupies one of the nine seats behind me. And he gave us a behind-the-scenes, rare look at what life is like for the justices who sit on the country’s top bench,” said Sachedina, standing inside the courtroom of the Supreme Court building in Ottawa.


CTV News Channel will air a half-hour news special called ‘CTV NEWS SPECIAL: A Conversation with Supreme Court Justice Mahmud Jamal’ on Monday, May 23 at 10:30 pm ET.


Watch the full video with CTV National News National Affairs Correspondent Omar Sachedina at the top of this article after it airs.


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