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 Bora Laskin

Bora Laskin

Birth
Fort William, Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada
Death 26 Mar 1984 (aged 71)
Ottawa, Ottawa Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Burial Scarborough, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada
Memorial ID 3540 · View Source
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Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Born in Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay), the son of Max Laskin and Bluma Zingel. Educated at the University of Toronto, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1933. He received the degrees of Master of Arts in 1935 and Bachelor of Laws in 1936. While at the University of Toronto, he was a member of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. In 1937, he received an Master of Laws from Harvard Law School. He earned a gold medal at both the University of Toronto Law School and at Harvard Law School. He helped edit the Revised Statutes of Ontario and wrote headnotes for legal case reports. His experience with antisemitism reinforced his commitment to justice and impartiality. It also steered him away from private practice and toward an academic career and, in the end, made Bora Canada's foremost lawyer and jurist without ever having practiced law or argued a case in court. From 1940 to 1965 he taught at the University of Toronto, except for the period 1945 to 1949 when he taught at Osgoode Hall Law School. For twenty-three years he served as associate editor of Dominion Law Reports and Canadian Criminal Cases. He also wrote Canadian Constitutional Law and many other legal texts. His interests were in labour law, constitutional law, and human rights. He was a founding member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. In 1965 he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal, where he was a champion of civil liberties and frequently dissented from the majority of the court. His courage and integrity gained the attention of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who made Bora his first appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1970, and the first Jew on Canada's highest court. Maintaining his role as "the Great Dissenter," Bora was appointed chief justice in December 1973, creating controversy when he was leapfrogged over five more senior judges. Even as chief justice Bora was still frequently in dissent in a conservative court. Over time the adoption of his positions by legislators, his growing influence on Canadian legal thought, and Trudeau's appointment of more liberal judges allowed Bora to turn the Supreme Court into a national institution and a creative force in promoting individual rights and legal equality. His career demonstrates the transformation not only of Canadian law but of Canadian society from the prejudices and restrictions of the 1930s toward egalitarian and multicultural maturity. A book was written by Philip Girard called Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life. Bora married Peggy Tenenbaum. The couple had two children, a son and a daughter. He died at the age of 71 while still in office of pneumonia.

Bio by: Shock


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 8 Sep 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3540
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Bora Laskin (5 Oct 1912–26 Mar 1984), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3540, citing Holy Blossom Memorial Park, Scarborough, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada ; Maintained by Find A Grave .