Supremely Inspiring – Honouring Justice Abella

The Honourable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, the first Jewish woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada officially retires on July 1st.

The same day as her 75th birthday! 

 Lady Justice Apparel™ Supreme Court Collection Designs Honouring Justice Abella are copyright protected©


Supremely Inspiring  –The Honourable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella

Justice Abella's  journey from being born in a displaced persons camp in Stuttgart, Germany, post World War II, to immigrating to Canada with her family in 1950 and her determination to achieve her dream of becoming a lawyer and fighting for equality and human rights inspires. 

Justice Abella's  legal career spans 45 years. During that time, she has broken barriers, fought for equality rights and continues to advocate for access to justice and human rights.

Prior to Justice Abella’s appointment to the Bench, she served as the sole commissioner of the Federal Royal Commission on Equality in Employment in 1984 (a.k.a The Abella Commission).

 As Commissioner, she proposed the idea and coined the term “employment equity” in Canada in the Equality in Employment: A Royal Commission Report. The concept of employment equity seems common sense now. But in 1984, it was ground-breaking.

During her time serving on the Bench at the Supreme Court of Canada, Justice Abella heard and deliberated on cases that shape the lives of Canadians. 

Without a doubt Justice Abella has shaped every area of law, but her dedication to equality and human rights law is undeniable. 

Justice Abella has contributed so much to Canadian legal history, we couldn't pick our single most favourite legal case.

That’s why we're really interested in the upcoming "Conference to Mark the Retirement of the Honourable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella from the Supreme Court of Canada" happening on June 16th to 17th at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law.

Cool Facts About The Honourable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella

  • Justice Abella moderated the 1988 Canadian Federal Election English language debate between Brian Mulroney (then Prime Minster of Canada and Conservative Leader), John Turner (Liberal Leader) Ed Broadbent (NDP Leader). This was the historic leaders debate on NAFTA. How’s that for preparation for hearing arguments at the Supreme Court of Canada!
  • She was a member of the judicial inquiry into, Mi’kmaq leader and Indigenous activist, Donald Marshall Jr.’s wrongful murder conviction.
  • Justice Abella served as a Giller Literary Prize Judge in 2003.
  • 38 Honourary Degrees! That’s how many Honourary degrees Justice Abella holds. But we’re pretty sure that number is going to go up!
  • Justice Rosalie Abella was the first Canadian woman to be awarded an honorary degree from Yale university in 2016.
  • In 2017, the Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law named Justice Abella the 2016 Global Jurist of the Year in recognition of her dedication to human rights and international criminal justice.


You can learn more about The Honourable Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella on the Supreme Court of Canada website.

Thank you Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella for your dedication in championing equality rights, justice and the law. You are a portrait of justice.


About The Lady Justice Apparel™ Supreme Court Collection

Increasing the understanding of Canadian legal history and law is central to the mission of Lady Justice Apparel™. But who says you can’t use fashion and creative activist based design to educate and spark discussions?

The Lady Justice Apparel™ supremely inspired Supreme Court Collection aims to do just that. Lady Justice Apparel™ commissioned our feature Canadian artist Cori Torres to work with us and develop the first designs in our Supreme Court Collection.

Our Portraits of Justice series of designs are focused on highlighting  the people who have shaped Canadian legal history and jurisprudence. People can access our blog articles to learn more.

Also, our Quotables Courts series feature quotes from speeches, legal cases and journal articles that uplift everyone to fight for justice. That’s right, we do  legal research along with design.

 Don’t Worry…

  • Yes, we will be elevating and expanding the Lady Justice Apparel™ Bench (sorry, not sorry we couldn’t resist). Helping educate everyone on Canada’s legal history.

  • Yes, we will highlighting Canada’s judicial lower court and general legal history too!

Giving Back, It’s Part of the Lady Justice Apparel™ DNA

Like all Lady Justice Apparel™ collections and limited editions, we give back.  So, we asked you, our Lady Justice Apparel™ allies, where we should direct a percentage of the net proceeds from every t-shirt sold? You voted equally for both legal clinics and access to justice projects.  So, that’s what we’re doing.

 A percentage of the net sales from our Supreme Court Collection will be donated to the support a legal clinic advancing access to justice in Canada.