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News Spotlight: Governor Whitmer to Announce Historic Selection of Kyra Harris Bolden as Next Michigan Supreme Court Justice

Bolden to take oath in January as the first Black woman on state’s high court
Bolden to take oath in January as the first Black woman on state’s high court

LANSING, MI — On November 22, Governor Gretchen Whitmer will announce that she’s appointing Kyra Harris Bolden to the Michigan Supreme Court in January 2023 to succeed Justice Bridget Mary McCormack. Bolden will be the first Black woman to serve on the high court and is the governor’s first appointment to the supreme court.

“Today, I am honored to announce that I will be appointing Kyra Harris Bolden to the Michigan Supreme Court,” said Governor Whitmer. “A state representative from Southfield, former law clerk and litigator, Kyra is passionate about the law and will be the first Black woman ever to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court. 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. Kyra is committed to fighting for justice for generations, and I know she will serve Michigan admirably, building a brighter future for her newborn daughter and all our kids.”

“Kyra Harris Bolden will protect the rule of law and stand up for justice for generations,” said Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist. “Today, I am proud knowing that my daughters can see themselves reflected on the highest court in our state, and I am excited about the legal expertise and lived experience that Kyra will bring to consequential decisions on a wide range of issues. I know she will stand tall for Michigan.”

“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,” said Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Elizabeth T. Clement. “We are thrilled to welcome the first Black woman to the Court and ready to work with her, leading an independent branch of government committed to the rule of law and a justice system that works for everyone.”

“I am incredibly honored to be chosen by Governor Whitmer for this appointment to the Michigan Supreme Court,” said Kyra Harris 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.”

“This is a monumental day. Kyra Harris Bolden’s historic appointment to the Michigan Supreme Court will impact justice and fairness in Michigan for generations to come,” said Judge John A. Murphy, currently the longest-serving judge in Michigan and longest-serving elected African American judge in the State of Michigan’s history. “Her experience as my judicial law clerk, litigator, and her time in the state legislature, coupled with her empathy, inquisitiveness, and sense of justice, will make her an asset to this role. Kyra is an excellent appointee and will make an excellent Justice. I look forward to seeing the impact she will make on the bench.”

Kyra Harris Bolden currently serves as a State Representative for Michigan’s 35th House District. First elected in November 2018, Bolden began her service to the State of Michigan in January 2019 and was re-elected to a second term in 2020. As a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, she serves as the Assistant Democratic Leader and as a member of the House Judiciary and Insurance Committees. She has focused her work on criminal justice reform, crafting and passing bipartisan legislation to protect survivors of sexual violence. Bolden has successfully passed pieces of critical bipartisan legislation into law, including the “Medically Frail” prison reform package, the revision of the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act, and the “Address Confidentiality for Survivors of Domestic Violence” package. She is also co-chair of the Legislative Attorney’s Caucus and chair of the House Democratic Caucus Diversity, Equity, and Including Committee.

Prior to her election to the House of Representatives, Bolden was a civil litigation attorney with Lewis & Munday, P.C. in Detroit. She also worked as a staff attorney for Judge John A. Murphy in the 3rd Circuit Court of Wayne County and as a court-appointed criminal defense attorney for the 46th District Court of Southfield. Early in her legal career, Bolden worked as a law clerk for the Law Office of Liss and Shapero, the Detroit Public Schools Office of Labor Relations, and for McLemore Law of Detroit.

 Bolden earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and she holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Grand Valley State University. She is a member of the Wolverine Bar Association, D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, and Black Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. Outside of her public service duties, Bolden continues to contribute to her community through her membership in the City of Southfield Total Living Commission, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and National Congress of Black Women – Oakland County Chapter. Kyra lives in her hometown of Southfield with her husband, Dr. Greg Bolden, and their newborn, Emerson Portia Bolden.

Once appointed, Rep. Bolden will serve a partial term expiring at twelve o’clock noon on January 1, 2025. If she wishes to complete the remainder of Justice Bridget Mary McCormack’s term, which expires on January 1, 2029, she will be required to run for re-election in November 2024.

Judicial appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

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