Rosalie Silberman Abella :: 14th Annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Location Hall of Philosophy

Gate pass required. Purchase at our Main Gate Welcome Center, (716) 357-6250.

Rosalie Silberman Abella
Justice, Supreme Court of Canada

The Honorable Rosalie Silberman Abella is renowned in Canada, in the United States, and beyond our continent as a great jurist, thinker, writer, and public figure in the law. Justice Abella was born in 1946 in a Displaced Person's camp in Stuttgart, in the U.S. zone of military occupation in what had been, before its surrender a year earlier, Nazi Germany. In 1950, she and her family came to Canada as refugees.  She graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music in classical piano in 1964 and then attended the University of Toronto, earning a B.A. in 1967 and an LL.B. in 1970. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 1972 and practiced civil and criminal litigation.

When Abella was appointed to the Ontario Family Court in 1976, she was the youngest person and the first pregnant person appointed to the judiciary in Canada. In 1984, as the sole Commissioner of the federal Royal Commission on Equality in Employment, she created the term and concept of "employment equity" and developed theories of "equality" and "discrimination" that subsequently were adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada.  In 1992, she was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal, and in 2004 she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Among many honors, Abella is a Senior Fellow of Massey College, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She has given, among others, the Harlan Lecture at Princeton, the Ryan Lecture at Georgetown, the Winchester Lecture at Oxford, the Anderson Lecture at Yale, and, in 2016, Yale Law School’s graduation address, and she has been the Bullock Chair at Hebrew University and the Mackenzie King Distinguished Visiting Professor at Harvard.

Chautauqua Institution’s Robert H. Jackson Lecture, delivered each summer after the completion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s term, is a prominent expert’s take on the Court, the Justices, major decisions and related developments, trends and issues. The program is presented in partnership with the Robert H. Jackson Center in nearby Jamestown, New York.

The Jackson Lecture brings a prominent U.S. Supreme Court expert to offer his or her take on the Court, the justices, signal decisions and/or other related legal developments. Chautauqua’s previous Jackson Lecturers have been Geoffrey Stone (2005), Linda Greenhouse (2006), Seth Waxman (2007), Jeffrey Toobin (2008), Paul Clement (2009), Jeff Shesol (2010), Dahlia Lithwick (2011), Pamela Karlan (2012), Charles Fried (2013), Akhil Amar (2014), Laurence Tribe (2015), Tracey Meares (2016) and Jon O. Newman (2017).