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Whitmer to appoint first Black woman to Michigan's top court

Kyra Harris Bolden
Posted at 11:21 AM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 14:15:21-05

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to appoint the first Black woman to the Michigan Supreme Court, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Kyra Harris Bolden is Whitmer's choice to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Justice Bridget McCormack, spokesman Bobby Leddy said.

An afternoon announcement was planned.

Bolden is a state lawmaker from the Detroit area who has been a licensed lawyer for only eight years. She was a Democratic nominee for the Supreme Court in the Nov. 8 election but finished third in a race for two seats.

Bolden, 34, will join the court in January after her House term expires. Democrats will continue to have a 4-3 majority on the court.

“Kyra is passionate about the law and will be the first Black woman ever to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court,” Whitmer said. “She will bring a unique perspective to our high court as a Black woman — and as a new working mom — that has too long been left out.”

Black men from both political parties have served as Supreme Court justices.

"I am incredibly honored to be chosen by Governor Whitmer for this appointment to the Michigan Supreme Court,” said Bolden. “I will ensure equal access to justice, apply the law without fear or favor, and treat all who come before our state’s highest court with dignity and respect. I also know that this moment – becoming the first Black woman to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court – would not be possible without leaders like Judges Shelia Johnson, Debra Nance, Deborah Thomas, Cynthia Stephens and Denise Langford Morris. These are the Black women who blazed the path that I seek to follow. I hope that my voice on the Court will inspire future generations to pursue their dreams. I am humbled by this honor, and I am ready to get to work on behalf of all Michiganders.”

McCormack said in September that she was stepping down with six years left in her term. She served as chief justice until this week when members of the court chose Justice Elizabeth Clement to take over.

“Michigan’s courts are on a steady path to becoming more accessible, more engaged and more inclusive, and today’s addition to the Supreme Court is a groundbreaking step forward," Clement said.

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Elle Meyers

Elle Meyers

6:12 PM, Apr 12, 2021

State Capitol

Neighborhood Reporter

Elle Meyers

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