Kyra Harris Bolden to be MI's first Black woman Supreme Court justice
A Black woman will serve on the bench of the Michigan Supreme Court for the first time in its 217 year history.
Driving the news: State Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden (D-Southfield) is set to make history after being appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week.
- Bolden will become the sixth Black person to ever serve.
What they're saying: "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," Whitmer said in a statement.
- Bolden, one of five candidates to run for two Supreme Court seats during the midterm election, tells Axios that after running a campaign while pregnant, she feels like she can do anything.
- She says she has been genuinely excited to see community members take credit in her success.
What she's saying: "It's important for the children to know that someone who can serve on the highest court in the state of Michigan sat in their seats," Bolden tells Axios.
- Bolden, a former class president at Southfield Lathrup High School, says the city helped shape her. "Southfield is a majority-minority community, but also middle class; there aren't very many in the United States. I didn't grow up in a mindset where I was in the minority because everyone around me looked like me."
Between the lines: Bolden, 34, succeeds Justice Bridget McCormack, a Democrat leaving the bench at the end of the year to become the president and CEO of the American Arbitration Association.
- Bolden maintains the high court's 4-3 Democratic majority.
The intrigue: Bolden's age and lack of judicial experience have been a point of scrutiny. She points to her election performance, finishing within 2% of incumbent Brian Zahra in the midterms (21.4% of votes), to show people are comfortable with her on the high court.
- "There are five justices that didn't serve as judges previously — people have decided that that is a particular course they are OK with," Bolden says, adding that her experience as a state legislator also gives her a unique perspective. "I've practiced in multiple practice areas, maybe not as long as others, but I've seen the gamut and the depth and breadth of the law."
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