Author Archive


Today is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in which he wrote:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Words to ponder and to become better by…

Read the full text here.

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Go Blue

When the Michigan Wolverines take on the Louisville Cardinals tonight the cheering section will include many past and present justices of the Michigan Supreme Court.

First territorial justice Augustus Woodward is well-known for the instrumental role he played in designing the city of Detroit (his name is synonymous with the area’s “Main Street”); however, perhaps less well known was his role in the creation of the University of Michigan. If he had had his way, the school would have been known as Catholepistemiad or “system of universal science”. Read more here.

Alpheus Felch, who served on both the Michigan Supreme Court and as Governor of Michigan, was a Tappan Professor of Law at UM and also served on the Board of Regents toward the end of his life in the late nineteenth century. The Society is currently inquiring into the whereabouts of his portrait, which exists but was never found.

Big Four Justices James V. Campbell and Thomas M. Cooley were the first and second deans of the law department, respectively. Campbell was a Marshall Professor and Cooley was a Jay Professor.

Most recently, Justice Bridget Mary McCormack served as a dean in the University of Michigan Law School before being elected to the Court in 2012.

All of which is to say, Go Blue!

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This year marks the silver anniversary of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society. Chief Justice Dorothy Comstock Riley (MSC 1982-83, 1985-1997) incorporated the Society as a nonprofit on April 19, 1988. To commemorate that special day, let’s see if we can get 25 new members by April 19th. We have two weeks… Let’s do this!

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John Voelker was a mid-twentieth century justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. But he had another side. Under the alias Robert Traver he wrote several novels including Danny and the Boys, Trout Madness, Trout Magic, Laughing Whitefish, and Anatomy of a Murder. This last one was turned into an Academy Award-nominated movie that continues to be lauded as one of the finest courtroom dramas in American film.

Visit our Verdict of History section to learn more about the Art of Crafting an Opinion. Then, be sure to read the Majority Opinion which begins “I dissent”.

Justice Voelker’s portrait is hanging out in the Society’s office today, awaiting its new location in the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center. If only the ghost of John Voelker/Robert Traver could guide these blogging fingers…

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Our New Website: Tell Us What You Think!

The Society’s redesigned website went live just a few short weeks ago. Since then I have tentatively been making updates and getting more confident with the technology. Isn’t it great when you push a button and the whole site doesn’t come crashing down? I think so!

This blog is one of the most exciting features of the modernized website, in my opinion. Not only because it allows me to “speak” (so to speak) directly to our members and the general public but also because it gives YOU a chance to talk back to us.

So please leave a comment and let us know what you think about the site, what you would like to see more of, and of course, any questions you might have. I will be moderating the comments and responding to them. I should warn you, however, that the civil part of civil discourse will be enforced. In other words, keep it nice and appropriate.

Thanks! ~Executive Director Carrie

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