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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Appoints First Black Woman to Michigan’s Supreme Court

Kyra Harris Bolden is a 34-year-old state lawmaker who previously worked a court-appointed defense lawyer

Kyra Harris Bolden, 34, has become the first Black Supreme Court Justice in the state of Michigan. Bolden has been appointed to the court by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The young lawyer came in third for one of two seats on the court in November’s election.

According to the Associated Press, Bolden will replace Justice Bridget McCormack who announced her retirement in September with six years left in her term.

During a press conference, Whitmer said that Bolden “will be bringing a unique perspective that has too long been left out, not only as a Black woman but also as a new mom.”

The former civil litigator has only been a licensed lawyer for eight years.

Bolden thanked her family and acknowledged those who came before highlighting, “the countless Black women on whose shoulders I stand.” She told the audience about her great-grandfather who was lynched in 1939, saying, “in just a few generations our family has gone from lynching to law school. From injustice to a capital ‘J’ justice. This is the greatness of possibility in our country.”

Two Black women have both run for election to the top court but didn’t win—while Black men from both political parties have served on the court, most recently Kurtis Wilder, a Republican who lost reelection in 2018.

Outgoing Justice McCormack said, “On a personal note, as I leave the court after a decade of being privileged to serve, I find it very satisfying to see the next generation of judges like Kyra Harris Bolden assume the bench.”

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