The WSJ Law Blog reports:
“I want to bring blind justice to the Michigan Supreme Court,” said Detroit-area attorney Richard Bernstein as a Michigan Supreme Court candidate. Legally blind since birth, Mr. Bernstein makes history as the first blind person to serve on the state’s highest court.
Bernstein is widely known in southeastern Michigan because his family’s personal-injury law firm regularly advertises on TV. He spent more than $1.8 million of his own money to campaign for the state Supreme Court. His slogan? “Blind Justice.”
As one of only two Democrats on the seven-member court, Bernstein is unlikely to crack the court’s conservative sway. But he’s still expected to make a difference.
“His own experience and background is different than anyone else’s at the conference table,” said Justice Bridget McCormack, who was a law professor before being elected in 2012. “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?”
In November, he was elected to an eight-year term. As the AP notes, he’s not the first blind judge to sit on the highest court of a state.
Missouri Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Teitelman, who is legally blind, was appointed to the court in 2002. On the federal level, there’s David Tatel, a blind judge serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.