What a Terrific Thing in Michigan

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.

According to an Associated Press profile:

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.


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