Legal News

First Blind Judge Elected to Michigan Supreme Court
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Richard Bernstein is the first blind person to be elected to the Supreme Court of Michigan.

Summary: Richard Bernstein, who will be sworn in on January 1 to serve on Michigan’s Supreme Court, will be the first blind judge to hold this position in the state.

Richard Bernstein has been blind since birth, but that hasn’t stopped him from obtaining a law degree and, now, taking the bench at the highest court in the state of Michigan. “I want to bring blind justice to the Michigan Supreme Court,” Bernstein proclaimed when he was a candidate for the seat. On New Year’s Day, he will be sworn into office. Bernstein will be the first blind person to ever serve at the Supreme Court of Michigan.

  
What
Where


The Wall Street Journal reports that Bernstein is well-known in southeastern Michigan. His family’s personal injury firm advertises on television often, and he spent $1.8 million of his personal money to fund his campaign for the Supreme Court. He used the slogan “Blind Justice.”

A few years ago, the National Conference of Bar Examiners appealed a court’s decision that ordered the entity to provide accommodations for a blind law student.

Although Bernstein will serve as one of two Democrats on a seven-member panel, Bernstein is expected to impact the court significantly. Justice Bridget McCormack, who was elected in 2012, said, “His own experience and background is different than anyone else’s at the conference table. Richard knows a whole lot about disability law the rest of us don’t. We don’t get a lot of those cases. Who knows how it will be useful?”

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!






What's your favorite part about this story?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

This past November, Bernstein was elected to an eight-year term on the court. Though he is the first blind judge in Michigan’s highest court, he is not the first blind justice on a state supreme court in the United States. Justice Richard B. Teitelman was appointed to Missouri’s Supreme Court in 2002. Judge David Tatel also serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and is blind.

Last year, a disabled man was awarded $8,000 after he was trapped on a Disney World ride.

How does Bernstein prepare for oral arguments? For his first round of oral arguments set for January 13, an assistant has been preparing him by reading him briefs. Bernstein said, “We do use technology but technology can only take you so far. I internalize the cases word for word, pretty much commit them primarily by memory. I’m asking the reader to pinpoint certain things, read footnotes, look at the legislative record.”

Another Michigan judge is being investigated after one of his interns drove drunk.

During his time as a candidate for the position, Bernstein described his disability as an advantage, not a disadvantage. He said, “Because you have to deal with it and it really expresses what justice is. I am blind, and justice—real justice—is blind. Programs and services are great, but people also have to understand on a personal level…a blind person can’t prejudge others.”

Photo credit: crainsdetroit.com



 

Interesting Legal Sites You May Like


BCG FEATURED JOB

Locations:

Keyword:



Search Now

Mid-level Tax Associate Attorney

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Los Angeles office of an AmLaw firm seeks mid-level tax associate attorney with 3-5 years of experie...

Apply Now

Real Estate/Transactional Attorney

USA-PA-Camp Hill

Camp Hill office of our client seeks real estate/transactional attorney with experience. The candida...

Apply Now

Corporate Attorney

USA-WY-Laramie

Laramie office of our client seeks corporate attorney with 2+ years of experience.

Apply Now

RELEVANT JOBS

Construction Attorney

USA-FL-Deerfield Beach

Highly regarded, AV-rated law firm seeks Construction Litigation Associate with a minimum of 5 years...

Apply now

Family Law Firm seeks Associate Attorney

USA-WA-Vancouver

Are you ready to excel at the highest levels of family law? Do you prefer a dynamic, energetic pract...

Apply now

Legal Secretary

USA-NY-Buffalo

Legal Secretary for small but busy law firm in downtown Buffalo, primarily handling real estate matt...

Apply now

Commercial Real Estate Attorney

USA-AL-Huntsville

Benefits Offered 401K, Dental, Medical, Vision Employment Type Full-Time Leo Law Firm, L...

Apply now

SEARCH IN ARCHIVE

To Top