October 8, 2002
CHIEF JUSTICE MAURA D. CORRIGAN: Welcome, everyone, to this very special session, this most extraordinary session, this most amazing session of the Michigan Supreme Court. Our purpose today is to dedicate the Hall of Justice to the people of Michigan. This courthouse is the peoples’ building. It is here to do the peoples’ business in the third branch of government. My colleagues and I, judges and Justices of Michigan, are privileged to share this historic day with you. The Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court for many generations dreamed of standing where we stand today before this building that so magnificently symbolizes the role of law. Today the dream of our predecessors is no longer deferred. Today the dream is realized. I would like at this time to say, first of all, that we are grateful to God with a special note to Mother Theresa for making the sun come out. We place our trust in God and we acknowledge that this Hall of Justice is a hallowed place. And so to begin today I would like to call on Most Reverend Kenneth Povish, the retired Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lansing for the purpose of giving the invocation. Bishop.
BISHOP KENNETH POVISH: My fellow citizens of the state of Michigan, what we are doing today is another step in the long journey of humanity in pursuit of equal justice under law. Those words written in stone on the Supreme Court building in Washington are the result of the teaching, for example, of Hamarabi 37 centuries ago in Mesopotamia. Of Moses in Israel 32 centuries ago, and of Solomon the great king 28 centuries ago. They gave rise to the Judea-Christian tradition and the English common law which the founders of our nation adopted as their standard for justice. Appropriate for our reflection today is the prayer of Solomon upon his succession to the throne of David, his father, when the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying “As something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon answered: “Oh Lord, my God, you have made me your servant, king to succeed my father David, but I am a mere youth not knowing at all how to act. Give your servant therefore an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours.” Lord, God, make this building which we dedicate today a true temple of justice for your people. May those who sit as judges here preside with wisdom and understanding. May those who appeal to them here ever do so with honesty and integrity. May all who assist here in the judicial processes do so with diligence and competence. Let this Hall of Justice stand for many generations to come as a sign and an assurance that in Michigan we realize the hope and aspiration of our national Pledge of Allegiance, one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. I ask this in the name of Jesus, amen.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you Bishop. On this day we feel so many emotions. Nervousness, relief, pride and joy. We feel little and humble. We feel transitory. But our main emotion today is gratitude. And I want to take a moment, the next few moments, to thank and recognize many people with us today and not with us who made this building possible. To the Justices who worked for this day without living to see it, and to those who made this vision come true in our lifetime, first of all Dorothy Comstock Riley, former Chief Justice of this Court, who is with us today and who was so instrumental from the beginning to the end of this project, we thank you Dorothy. And Conrad Mallett who was Chief Justice when the funding for this building was secured, we thank you Conrad for your role in bringing this about. Governor Engler, who is also pivotal in making this dream of generations come true, we welcome him and we welcome Mrs. Engler to the celebration today. Hello, Michelle, thanks for being with us. My colleague, Justice Michael Cavanagh, who has watched over the project from the beginning, we thank you Mike, for your work in overseeing this project on behalf of the Court. Our Legislature who approved funding for this Court is represented here today by Senator Harry Gast. Actually these two gentlemen are sitting next to each other started together 32 years ago as freshmen legislators in Michigan, and we thank Senator Gast who is chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee for his role in bringing about this building. I especially wish to comment and thank my colleagues, Elizabeth Weaver. As Chief Justice she was instrumental in originating the idea for the Learning Center which I hope many of you will visit after the festivities today. I thank you, Betty, for your role in this. I also welcome all of the judges and Justices who are here today from around our state. I want to recognize Chief Judge Bill Whitbeck of the Michigan Court of Appeals, chief judge of that court who is here representing the Court of Appeals. Members of the federal judiciary are present and we welcome you, Judge McKeague, Judge Scoville, and we’re glad that you’re with us today. I also recognize and thank Mayor David Hollister who is representing the City of Lansing, for his support of this project and to Reginald Turner, President of the State Bar of Michigan. You’ll hear from both of them later. We thank them for their support of this project. I also want to give broader thanks to the people of Lansing, especially to the people in this neighborhood. The community that surrounds the Hall of Justice. I know the Christman Company worked very hard to minimize the inconvenience to our neighbors from the project, but as with any construction project, I know there were inconveniences. So I thank this neighborhood and the city for its patience with us. And I thank all of our participants today, the Grand Valley State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, who have played such wonderful music for us, directed by Barry Martin. We will also shortly have the pleasure of hearing from the combined choirs of the Royal Oak Childrens Choir, directed by Susan Paree, and the Cass Tech Choir of Detroit, who is directed by Cheryl Harden. The Glen Erin Pipe Band of Lansing led us here in procession from the Capitol. And we also have with us the Color Guard of the 1st Battalion 119th Field Artillery of the Michigan Army National Guard, and shortly we’re going to witness the flyover of the Michigan Air National Guard 110th Fighter Wing. To all of you, our thanks for adding to the beauty and ceremony of this occasion. And I want to acknowledge the young people who are here waiting to come forward. They are going to shortly lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. They are the winners of the Law Day Essay Contest sponsored by the State Bar of Michigan and Michigan Lawyers Auxiliary. So children, will you please stand as I call your name and introduce you. Chris Cialdella. Chris is from Dagey School in Kalamazoo. Chris Copple from Northeast Middle School in Midland; Amanda Hiliker from Jonesville. She is home schooled by mother, Elaine Hiliker, who is here today. Tyler LaVanway of Coloma Junior High in Coloma. Reyna Levine, also of Dagey School in Kalamazoo. Keith Miller of Jefferson Middle School in Midland and Vanessa Verbeeren from Lans Cruz Middle School North in Macomb County. Welcome. I also want to take a few moments to recognize the people who designed and built this magnificent Hall of Justice. Albert Kahn Associates expressed so much in their design. As judges our goal is to convey to the people our respect for the rule of law. In this courthouse, you of Albert Kahn have met that goal. You have built us a monument to the rule of law. From Albert Kahn we have it’s president and CEO, Steve Whitney. Steve, raise your hand if you’re here. John Anchemen, vice president. John I saw you. Hello John. Tom Edwards, project manager. Tom I saw you. Yes. Senior structural engineer, Tom Hoffman. Field representative Mort Scott. And Susan Arneson, director of marketing. The Christman Company not only gave form to the architect’s vision but did so in a very professional manner, sensitive to the surrounding community. Gary Shannon was its project supervisor from Christman. Gary does not feel able to be with us today for reasons that will become plain in a few minutes. He has been the day-to-day manager of this project. He told me early on what a privilege it was to work on this building. He said the building would be here in 200 years and we owe a special debt of gratitude to Gary. We also have with us Christman’s chairman, Phil Frederickson. Phil. Steve Wosnowski, it’s president. Senior vice president Jay Smith. Vice presidents Jim Cash and John Holstrom. Project manager Robin Norman, where are you Robin? There you are, hi. Project engineer Anthony Peckio and assistant project superintendent Keith Heinz. Keith. Thank you all. From Spillis-Candella Design Architects who did such a wonderful job on the interior design of the Hall of Justice we have Dan Dworis, principal. Katherine Aldridge. Rick Marcia, associate principal. Thank you for being with us today. And I must acknowledge the Department of Management and Budget. I know I saw Duane Berger earlier. Duane, where are you. Hi Duane. He is the director of DMB and with him is Oki Oneli. Oki, thank you. Tom Kane and Bob Hall, all from the Office of Design and Construction. Steve Benkowski and Bob Beerwagon have been tremendous in helping us to prepare for this dedication. Finally I want to thank Rabbi David Nelson of the Congregation Beth Shalom in Oak Park for coming to join us. He will close the ceremony with a benediction. At this time we will have a presentation of the flag by the Honor Guard of the First Battalion 119th Field Artillery, to be followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. I ask the Color Guard to come forward now, and the essay contest winners to come down and join me. I’ll ask that everyone in the audience now please stand and remain standing until we’re finished with the Pledge and the National Anthem.
PRESENTATION OF THE COLORS by the Michigan Army National Guard 1st Battalion 119th Field Artillery.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE led by student winners of the 2002 State Bar of Michigan Law Day Essay Contest.
NATIONAL ANTHEM led by Cass Technical High School Concern Choir and Royal Oak Children’s Choir.
MILITARY JET FLYOVER by the Michigan Air National Guard’s 110th Fighter Wing.
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL led by Cass Technical High School Concern Choir and Royal Oak Children’s Choir.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you all for that beautiful performance. When students of Michigan history look back on John Engler’s record they will find many lasting achievements. Surely this Hall of Justice, the first permanent home for the judiciary since Michigan entered the Union in 1837 ranks among those achievements. He has been a governor of many firsts. But I don’t think that cold words could ever convey a proper sense about this governor as a leader. His clear vision and conviction and persistence made today possible for this branch. And when I talk about vision about John Engler, I don’t only mean the very big picture, I mean the ittiest, bittiest, most miniscule details. I will give you an example, and Mike Murray and I shared this last week. The Governor asked me how we were going to deal with the problem of microphones and podiums for the wheelchair bound in this new Hall of Justice. That’s an example of his attention to detail. But as an example of vision I would say this. Well before the Hall of Justice was authorized, Chief Justice Mallett and I as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals met with the Governor back in 1997. We met about a number of topics of interest to the judiciary. And I remember that day the Governor described his vision of this courthouse. Down the mall he said it would be, next to the Vietnam Vets Memorial. It is the scene that you see before you today. I was a skeptic. I did not believe this could ever come about. But I was wrong. This Governor knows how to make things happen. So Governor, on behalf of the Judicial Branch, thank you. And I now welcome the Governor of our great state of Michigan, Governor Engler.
GOVERNOR JOHN ENGLER: Thank you. Thank you Chief Justice Corrigan, Justices of the Supreme Court, former Justices who have joined us today, Chief Judge Whitbeck, judges of the Court of Appeals and judges from across Michigan’s judiciary, and many honored guests also of the judicial branch, welcome home. Good to have you home. Greetings also to my colleagues from the Legislature, certainly Senator Harry Gast and Duane Berger and the Department of Management and Budget team that worked, and this has been mentioned. Don Gilmer, the budget director, Mary Lanoy, those who worked so tirelessly with the members of the Legislature and the legislative staff, Mayor Hollister, citizens of Michigan. This is both a historic and a fulfilling day. By one reckoning dated from the Supreme Court’s move into the temporary quarters, what is now the G. Mennen Williams Building in 1970, it took 32 years for this day to arrive. By another reckoning dated from the ratification of the Constitution of 1834, it took 167 years for us to reach this point. Attorney General Frank Kelley was the only witness to both events. I guess he should probably decide which is right but whatever the time, we’re all delighted and I think somewhat moved today to gather at this remarkable site and to dedicate this new and impressive Michigan Hall of Justice. The Michigan judiciary has come a long way since meeting back in the 1830s at a tavern on Fort Street in Detroit. How we got sort of here from there is quite a tale. A key chapter in this story that I can mention here today began 82 years ago when a man visited Lansing and he had an idea. That man was Harlan Bartholomew, one of America’s first great city planners. He arrived in Lansing in 1920. Our capital city was still was still relatively young and all it had been was a wilderness as late as the 1840s. Harlan Bartholomew didn’t think Lansing was as attractive as it should be. It had grown without any order or plan and he believed a capital city should a beautiful city and an attractive city to visit and conduct the peoples’ business. Now at the time of his visit in 1920 the Cass Building was under construction. It was the only other state office building at that point and Bartholomew thought it a good classical design but he was dismayed that the Cass Building bore so little spatial relationship to the Capitol. As he put it, the new state office building was shuttered off to the side. Bartholomew wrote a report in which he said, and I’m quoting, “This practice of haphazardly spotting magnificent buildings in the capital city is unworthy of Michigan.” He recommended Lansing take its cue from Washington, D.C., with its beautiful mall extending west from the Capitol Building. There should be dignity, order and beauty in Lansing’s Capitol Complex. Spaces should be designed to encourage citizens to enter the mall, promenade its length, visit public sites, enjoy picnics on the grounds. Bartholomew even envisioned a building on the west end of our mall that would anchor the wonderful public spaces and complement the capitol. He advocated a building in the classical style to ignoble state government to express the timeless values of our civilization. Well for many, many reasons, above all certainly the Great Depression and Second World War, the state was unable to act on Harlan Bartholomew’s vision for decades and the capitol complex only began to take shape with the completion of the Mason Building in 1953. Then other buildings went up along the new mall with their rather ultra-modern facades. Public response, to put it mildly, was not universally enthusiastic. The buildings weren’t viewed as particularly humane or approachable. Then perhaps a low point was reached in the 60s. There were calls for a new capitol building and they had a design competition actually and the leading design features three upside down pyramids, apparently to symbolize, I guess, the atomic age capital for an atomic age society. It was a proposal, by the way it didn’t last very long. Some of you, Bob Danhoff, would remember it. He would have been around at that time. But this was dead and buried as soon as it took a look at the public reaction. They couldn’t stop laughing. Now later on I had the privilege and Senate Majority Leader and then as Governor, actually, to be part of and then ultimately the completion of the restoration of our beautiful Victorian style capital. And still there was a strong sentiment for a more traditional building anchoring the west end of the mall. We had to wait a few decades but finally, now, what Harlan Bartholomew envisioned back in 1920, a magnificent building, as he put it, “worthy of the people of Michigan”, a building that complements one of the most beautiful state capitals in the union, a building whose colonnade invites citizens to approach our Halls of Justice. A building whose glass dome lets light into our judiciary. A building whose wings gesture towards the other branches of government. A building with a learning center which is truly second to none in the nation. It’s a building of limestone and marble that symbolize the permanent things on which our constitutional republic is founded. Justice, ordered freedom and self-government under the rule of law. A building, ladies and gentlemen, that is the finest state judicial edifice in the United States. And it is a fitting home for the finest judiciary in the United States. In closing I want to call attention to a small detail, Maura said I like the small details–I kind of do–but it is symbolic of the large events unfolding today. At each end of the mall are two paintings, two portraits. The portraits are of the same man and they are identical. Wally Riley will really appreciate this because he has done more to preserve our history of the Judicial Branch, but these portraits are of one of the greatest jurists in Michigan history, the first Chief Justice to preside in our capital building, James Valentine Campbell. And one of these portraits hangs in the old Supreme Court chambers in the capital. The other will soon hang in this great new Hall of Justice. If you look at the portrait I think you will agree that Justice Campbell looks content. And I like to think that he looked favorably on the Justices this morning when they held a session in that old Supreme Court chambers and then adjourned to walk down this beautiful now boulevard that exists. And I’d like to think that Justice Campbell and all of those who have worked so hard in the past to bring this day about who, as Maura mentioned, could not be here, who are no longer with us, that they are also gathered in assembly looking down on us and that in a few moments when Chief Justice Corrigan gavels open the Michigan Hall of Justice, they will share our pride. And I think Justice Campbell certainly would be proud of his successors over the generations who have been good and faithful servant. And I close just with the prayer, may the men and women who come to this building for generations come to find the justice they deserve. God bless the work in the Hall of Justice, God bless the state of Michigan, God bless America. Thank you.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you Governor Engler. Among our colleagues on the Court, the one who serves as our informal court historian is Michael Cavanagh. He is the longest serving Justice on the current Michigan Supreme Court, having been on the Court now 20 years and having served with 11 different courts during that time. Justice Cavanagh is also a very keen student of Michigan legal history. As Chief Justice from ’91 to ’95 he carried forward the vision of earlier chiefs for a building to house the Judicial Branch. He has also served as the Justice who oversees this project and I know that he is as proud and relieved as I am to see this day. Let me now call upon Mike Cavanagh for his remarks. Michael.
JUSTICE MICHAEL F. CAVANAGH: Thank you Chief Justice Corrigan. Bishop Povish, Rabbi Nelson, Governor Engler. I am honored to have been asked to speak on this great occasion. I’m honored to be here today in the presence of the Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court, present and former, and of many others who have contributed so much to bring us here today. There is much that could be said today but time is short. Permit me to begin today with a brief reflection on the trip we took a few moments ago. Standing there directly to our east is the beautiful capital of Michigan. The last time citizens gathered in Lansing for so significant a dedication was on January 1, 1879 when that building was dedicated. Since that day we have twice turned a century. Today we walked from that magnificent building to this. We walked from our first permanent courtroom to a courthouse that we expect to carry us 200 years into the future. As I mentioned when we broke ground on this site, our walk today carried us down not just a freshly laid sidewalk, but down old Michigan Avenue and across Butler. Through the ghosts and the shadows of a diverse working class neighborhood that once stood here. At that ground-breaking I said today we put up a Hall of Justice. We build it not in an empty field, but in a neighborhood. Not among parked cars, but atop the homes and playgrounds and dreams of the people who lived here. So we hold this land in trust, obliged to do justice for the people of Michigan whose homes, schools and dreams once filled this area. And as I look around today I’m struck by the many ways in which this new building will remind us of what we are here to do. Obviously the structure itself is a very powerful statement of the importance of our third branch of government. But I would suggest the details speak to us as well. We stand under a piece of carved limestone behind me that names this building. It is the Michigan Hall of Justice. It is the natural, perhaps inevitable extension of the history of this state. And we see throughout this building reminders of all who have gone before us. Before any Europeans saw the great lakes justice was being applied by the people of the three fires. The Chippewa, Ottawa and Potowatomie peoples resolved disputes, excluded wrongdoers and healed community riffs. They looked within their communities for sources of wisdom and strength just as they looked to the heavens for guidance. An element of native justice which survives to this day is the sentencing circle. The community gathered in the round, young and old having a voice. And as we move today into our new round courtroom we are mindful of the significance of gathering in a circle to those who first served as judges and law givers here in the upper great lakes. The French came in the early 1600s, soon followed by the missionaries whose deep religious faith brought them halfway around the globe. At the direction of our Legislature our lobby includes the statement “In God We Trust”. This sentiment echoes through the woods and waters of Michigan back through the centuries as it will continue to resound for centuries to come. The British brought their reverence through written statutes generated by a representative assembly of lawmakers, together with the common law system that brought humanity to the cold edge of the written law. The interlocking roles of these equal branches, legislative and judicial, are all reflected in all that we will do here. In time the great American republic was formed and with it the bedrock of written constitutional law. Our lobby reflects that as well. Circling the upper reaches are the powerful words of Article 1, Section 1, of the Michigan Constitution. “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security and protection.” So justice then is not something invented or created by the persons who have been asked to serve for a time as judges. It comes from the people and from the values and traditions that form the mind and the sole of the people. The Michigan Constitution speaks also about this one court of justice. Not one court of laws or one court of legislative enactments or one court of judicial inventions. This is one court of justice. And each of us has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution that creates and continues that court. And all of that is found on these grounds. Among these trees, within these limestone walls. On the first floor, as was mentioned, is a learning center. A unique educational environment unlike anything in the nation. We built that here because again, justice does not come from judges, it comes from people. Persons who understand their rights and their responsibility. As judges we step in only on the rare occasions when our citizens forget how to do justice themselves. In this learning center school children of this state can begin to understand the civic concepts that underlie our system of justice so they can better participate in and contribute to a just society. Even the exterior of this building speaks of the active role that every citizen must take in building a just society. Awhile back we were asked what famous quotations we wanted to inscribe on the black granite walls that face to the east. For a day or two we poked around, reading speeches by the great figures who contributed to the growth of this land, and then we understood what we needed to do. Today, facing back towards the rest of state government stand four words. Freedom, truth, equality and justice. We put those four words up without explanation or even an apparent order because we wanted them to invite reflection. Four words that a teacher can use asking students what they might mean. How they might relate to each other. Which one might be the foundation of which other. We want the students of this state to be active participants in justice and in thinking about justice before they even come in the front door. But I can tell you what those four words mean to me. Freedom is the oxygen that we breathe in this country. It is the core value of our Constitution as reflected in the First Amendment guaranties of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly. It is the essential element that brought so many of our ancestors to these shores and it is the essential element for which some of our African-American ancestors would gladly bear the risk of coming north to these lakes by the underground railroad. In freedom we can seek truth. From Aristotle to Aquinas to Einstein to your daughter in graduate school, the human adventure is a quest for truth. In the marrow of our bones we hunger for truth. And when we accept truth we recognize equality. We acknowledge and embrace the self-evident truth that all persons are created equal. Some of us are tall and some of us are short. Some of us have been blessed by the almighty with one set of gifts and some have been blessed with another set. But all are equal. In freedom and in truth and in equality we are then prepared to find justice. With humility and gratitude we accept the charge given us by the people to enter these doors behind us and to do justice. We can do that only with the help and cooperation and prayers and support of all the people of Michigan. Persons of every background and culture must help us to continue to grow in our understanding of justice. For that great work the people of this state have built this Michigan Hall of Justice. The Justices and judges of this state are grateful that the people have seen fit to give us this new home and on behalf of all my colleagues I promise that we will do justice in this building to the best of our ability so help us God. Permit me to say one more thing. A newspaper reporter asked me the other day what was the one thing that stands out from the months and years of working on this project. The answer, I felt, was really obvious. The talent and dedication and professionalism and the efforts of our court personnel, especially Mike Murray, Linda Cluley, Ann Vroman, to name a few, and to the persons who erected this building. The Christman Company, Albert Kahn Associates and the Department of Management and Budget assigned to this project some of the finest people I have ever had the privilege of working with. And I want each of them to know how much I appreciate what they have done. As a personal note I wanted to say to Gary Shannon, the project superintendent for Christman Company, that Gary, today’s flyover was not just in honor of your building. In our hearts it was also in memory of your son, Dustin. So thank you all for coming today and thank you to the people of Michigan for this beautiful Hall of Justice. Thank you.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you. I skip over you, Senator Gast, in the program and for that I apologize. As I mentioned a few moments ago Senator Gast has served 32 years in our state legislature and he is retiring this year after a long and productive term of service. Senator Gast is our Legislature’s leading authority in the appropriations process. He has been the long time chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee as well as the Chair of the Senate Fiscal Agency Governing Board. His leadership and analytic skills were called on when the Legislature considered the funding request for the Hall of Justice project. My favorite saying by Senator Harry Gast is this: “When I run out of brains I use common sense.” We are very glad to have him here today to represent the Michigan Legislature. It is so fitting that he be here for what I hope is a signal accomplishment in his tenure as a senator representing Michigan’s 20th District. I give you Senator Harry Gast.
SENATOR HARRY GAST: Well judges all, I’m not going to single out anybody here, judges all, I’m going to utilize my 3 minutes bang bang. It’s going to go like this. This building was a dream of the Governor’s and mine and a lot of other legislators for almost our entire career in Lansing. We started talking about it when I first came to the Legislature. The Supreme Court needs a new building. That was the tone then. We had different versions of it, some of them that didn’t sit too well with the legislators. They were a little bit fancy. They have been pared down somewhat but anyway, John and I heard about this long enough and here 4 or 5 years ago we were starting to accumulate some extra dollars that weren’t committed. And I could see that and here’s a chance, maybe we should have a new Hall of Justice building and on that basis I just got it in my head well why don’t I talk to the Governor about it. So I called the Governor. I call him John, he calls me Harry. I like it that way. But anyway I called John and we found out that we kind of agreed on this one, not for a change but–generally we do but not always–and anyway we agreed on this and also a new forensic center over in Ypsi and lets have the two buildings put together and lets go ahead and do it. And that was after I talked to Conrad Mallett. And I called Conrad back again and he wouldn’t believe it. I don’t think he believed me when I first told him that. And I said look Conrad, it’s up to you now. You call the man downstairs. We got the ball rolling. And he called the man downstairs and this is the product. So it takes a little time to get some of these things done but you have to be an opportunist also. Two more little stories. One was at the groundbreaking I couldn’t get over here and anyway as we progressed from Conrad Mallett to Chief Justice Weaver and now to Chief Justice Corrigan we find that we had a change of the guard. So anyway during the early construction of this I suggested to Janet Welch, who is an aide to Elizabeth Weaver that I can’t be there for the groundbreaking but I’d sure as heck like to have the shovel. In my garage I’ve got a whole wall lined up with different groundbreaking shovels and I wanted this one there too. The new library I have that one with pride. So anyway here came Janet Welch and Elizabeth Weaver over with a shovel, brought it to my office right up in the capital, didn’t you. And anyway then Janet came later and she gave me a lapel pin in the shape of a shovel. Those are little things I appreciate. Another thing that I do appreciate, and this lady sitting right down here in front, I don’t know whether she will remember this or not. Dorothy Comstock Riley, when you swore in the Senate here oh, about 7 or 8 years ago, here came George McManus up the aisle and he had about 50 people with him that walked behind him and he was sworn in. And I came up there to be sworn in. I was all alone. And she says, Senator Gast I feel sorry for you, and she leaned over and gave me a peck on the cheek. And I remember that. And Art Miller Leodard said “How do you rate”. I said look Art, some of us got it and some haven’t. Thank you all for the honor and it’s a privilege to be here.
GOVERNOR ENGLER: While I’ve got Senator Gast here, we were going to dedicate this little plaque and I was supposed to do that but I want Harry to be up here with me because this is really the plaque that is going to be here on the wall and we wanted to leave that today. That’s sort of something the Legislature and the Executive Branch helped to get ready and so you might just take that off. That’s a bronze plaque that will just be a commemoration of the ceremony. Thank you Mike from both of the other two branches, your colleagues in government.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you. Thank you Senator. Thank you Governor. Thank you for presenting the plaque to us. Thank you Senator Gast. Next it is my privilege to introduce the mayor of the city of Lansing, David Hollister, a man who has been most supportive of the Hall of Justice project. To him this Hall of Justice is an asset to the City of Lansing as well as to state government. We on the Court share his belief that this building is another step in the revitalization of Lansing. Three weeks ago the Mayor and I watched together the construction of this time capsule that was building by City of Lansing employee Richard Wilkins. Here to present that time capsule is our next speaker, Mayor Hollister. Mr. Mayor.
MAYOR HOLLISTER: Thank you. I am honored to be here today to help celebrate the grand opening of the Michigan Supreme Court Hall of Justice. For the last 30 years each Chief Justice has advocated for a building that would house the multiple functions and courts scattered throughout the city. Arguments for consolidation, efficiency and better service finally won the day. It is because of this sustained effort that what was once a magnificent dirt parking lot is now a true landmark to the concept of equal justice under law. Built by the skilled workforce of mid-Michigan’s construction industry, it is my hope that this magnificent structure will stand well into the next millennium. This project was made possible because of the solid foundation of partnership, cooperation and unity. It is notable that the Supreme Court worked with city officials and neighborhood organizations to assure that our voices were heard in the construction of this new building. I thank them for their vision and dedication. The Michigan Supreme Court Hall of Justice is yet another example of what can be accomplished through proactive collaborative strategies that embody inclusiveness, unity and partnership. To show our appreciation the residents of Lansing are pleased to offer this time capsule to the state of Michigan. The time capsule was constructed by a lifelong city resident and city employee, Richard Wilkins, Lansing’s chief electrician from the building management division. Richard, we want to thank you for helping us tell our story to the men and women of future generations. As mayor of Lansing, I hereby officially present to the Michigan Supreme Court this time capsule which will be opened 100 years from today on October 8, 2102. Until then residents have the opportunity to see this time capsule on display in the interactive education center here at the Hall of Justice. Madam Chief Justice, on the behalf of the citizens of Lansing we present to you this time capsule for the next millennium.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you Mr. Mayor. Very appreciative. Thank you so much. The time capsule is inscribed: A gift from the citizens of Lansing presented by Mayor David C. Hollister on October 8, 2002 at the dedication of the Hall of Justice building. It was made by lifelong resident and city employee Richard Wilkins, chief electrician for the building maintenance division of the management services department of the city of Lansing. Thank you so much.
Our next speaker is here to present the State Bar of Michigan’s contribution to the time capsule. About two weeks ago I had the pleasure of swearing in Reginald Turner as our new State Bar president. He is very young, at least as lawyers go, but he has already had quite a remarkable career. After serving as law clerk to then Justice Dennis Archer, he went on to serve as his campaign counsel and campaign manager in Mayor Archer’s two mayoral election campaigns. In addition to his professional successes he is involved in many community activities. I am proud to call on our next speaker, the president of the State Bar of Michigan, Reginald Turner. Reggie.
REGINALD M. TURNER: Thank you Chief Justice Corrigan. To you and your colleagues on the Michigan Supreme Court and all of the judges here assembled today. To Governor Engler, the members of the Michigan Legislature, to the clergy and to the citizens of Michigan here assembled. The Hall of Justice is the realization of a goal that has long been shared by the Supreme Court and the State Bar of Michigan. Soon the courtrooms of this building will be alive with the business of justice, furthering the rule of law in our great American democracy. This magnificent building is the culmination of the collective efforts of many people who shared a common and inspiring vision. They include an unbroken succession of Chief Justices who for decade upon decade made the case for a fitting home for the Judicial Branch of government. The State Bar of Michigan representing 34,000 lawyers whose leaders lobbied continually for Michigan to join the overwhelming majority of states in having a home dedicated to the appellate courts. The members of the 89th Legislature who had the courage to make the necessary financial commitment. The architects and artisans who put forth such glorious form for this dream. The hundreds of workers who labored in mud and cold and heat and dust to bring this building into being on time and within budget. Governor John Engler, the most powerful member of the Michigan Bar, because without the Governor’s leadership we would not be standing here today. To all of them, to current and future generations of Michiganians we present this Hall of Justice and Chief Justice Corrigan, please allow me to present you with the State Bar of Michigan’s special gift to the people of Michigan for inclusion in the time capsule to be sealed today.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you so much, Reggie.
MR. TURNER: On behalf of the Bar, I thank the Court for its continuing partnership with the State Bar of Michigan. God bless this Honorable Court and this honorable court building. Thank you.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you, Reggie. On behalf of the Supreme Court I thank you, Reggie, and I thank the State Bar for its contribution to the time capsule.
A little over one year ago our country suffered an unprecedented murderous assault. We were reminded, brutally and vividly, of how fragile is this thing called American democracy. If any good came from that terrible day, it is this: We realized how much we had taken for granted.
We also knew that we had taken people for granted: Police, firefighters, paramedics. For once, we realized at what cost they served the public. They gave up their lives as if it were all just in a day’s work, and for them, it was. It was their job, their calling, what they had sworn to do. They didn’t expect hoopla or praise or even tears, although we owe them all that and more. These people simply did their jobs.
I thought about all that had gone on in the last year when I learned that Dustin Shannon had died. You may have heard through the media about the death of First Lieutenant Dustin Shannon, the 23-year-old Army helicopter pilot who was killed in a crash in South Korea just this past August. And you may know that on September 11, a group of World War II planes flew over this building in Dustin’s memory. They used the “missing man” formation, in which one plane drops out, and they were led by Dan Schiffer, who is a contractor on the Hall of Justice project. And maybe you’re wondering why did they fly over the Hall of Justice. A little earlier we spoke about Gary Shannon, the day-to-day project supervisor for the Hall of Justice. Dustin, as has been said, is Gary’s son. And I could only think about Dustin and Gary when I thought about this building and what is before us today. I thought about many things for Gary. I thought about the terrible loss of a child. All of us who are parents pray never to know what that means, and we each share the anguish when we hear of another parent who has lost a child. But then it made me think about how little we all appreciate people like Dustin, people who sacrifice their lives in service of their country. People who, just like Dustin Shannon, gave up their young lives to protect these United States. And this is what I feel is most significant about the building that we are about to dedicate and that it is located right next to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. How fitting it is, and how appropriate, that that memorial stands so close to this Hall of Justice. It is a permanent reminder to everyone who enters here about the sacrifices of young lives for the sake of liberty. Because the sacrifice of Dustin Shannon, like those of all the Vietnam Vets whose names are inscribed on that memorial from the many counties of Michigan, like those of the greatest generation of World War II soldiers who went before them, they are who and what enables our country to survive. Without their willingness to sacrifice, whether as a member of the military or in any other capacity, could we have a democracy at all? Could we say these United States were possible if no one would die for us? To Gary Shannon I say, we owe you, Gary, and we owe your wonderful son Dustin and people like him a huge debt. And I pray that all of us who enter this Hall of Justice and serve there will be worthy of these sacrifices.
How do we honor the sacrifice, how do we pay the debts that we owe them and so many other brave men and women who have died for our country? Our homage consists in this: that we carry out the ideals of ordered liberty and democracy under the rule of law for which they died. What is our charge, those of us who work in the Judicial Branch? Look at this Hall of Justice that is curved, thanks to Dorothy Riley, that is curved toward the State Capitol building. It stands independently, yet in relation to the Capitol. To me it seems to be arms outstretched, both shielding and embracing. This building is a bulwark, protecting, through faithful adherence to our constitution and laws, the democratic process that goes on across the way at our Legislature.
This is our job, this is our calling. This is what we are sworn to do. This, ultimately, is our sacrifice. Because by our sworn oath, we put protecting democracy first.
Justice Cavanagh spoke about the four words inscribed on this building: freedom, equality, truth, and justice. The challenge of Dustin Shannon is to make those words more than fine but empty sounds. These are the ideals and the aspirations of our country and they are the core values of our work and our lives. Because we in the judiciary do not have the force of an army nor the power of money, but only the moral force of our law and our conviction. From this day forward, may every person who serves in this hallowed place keep the promise of equal justice under law.
And now we are ready to dedicate the building. A new building usually opens with a ribbon cutting, but not in this case. A courthouse should open like court does, with the lowering of a gavel. And therefore, my colleagues, justices and judges of the Court of Appeals and retired justices, I invite you to stand now and prepare to help me gavel open the Hall of Justice. I ask all the judges who are going to serve to turn around and face the audience with your gavel and block in hand and on my count of three we will lower our gavels to open the Hall of Justice. One, two, three. With that, we declare the Hall of Justice open. May God save these United States, the state of Michigan, and this Honorable Court.
Thank you all. We are going to conclude this ceremony with benediction by Rabbi David Nelson of Congregation Beth Shalom.
Before I call on the Rabbi, though, I have a couple of announcements for you. We are having a reception after the ceremony and I hope you will all attend it and take a little time to enjoy this day. We will also have tours of the new Hall of Justice. At the entrance behind me you will find some guides waiting, so if you would like a tour this is where you will need to go. But let me say this. I would also like to ask all the speakers and all the judges and justices who are here, I want to remind you that this event is a little bit like a wedding, and as with every wedding, we have a photographer. So we need your cooperation in coming forward for pictures. We want to have good pictures, so I’m asking you not to leave the staging area. If you come forward they’ll tell you where to go. We hope to have an historic and panoramic photo of all the judges here today. Let me now call on Rabbi Nelson.
RABBI NELSON: Our God and God of our ancestors, we ask your blessings for our country, for its government, for our state, for its leaders, for its judges and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them the insights of your holy scripture that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may always abide in our midst.
As we dedicate this Hall of Justice may we always be mindful to let justice roll down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream. Let us always strive to fulfill the fundamental biblical doctrine; “Tzedek, Tzedek, Tirdof.” Justice, justice shalt thou pursue.
Creator of all flesh, bless all the inhabitants of our country with your spirit. May citizens of all races and creeds forge a common bond in true harmony to banish all hatred and bigotry and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions which are the pride and glory of our country. May this land under your providence, oh Lord, be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all people in peace and freedom, justice, truth, and equality, and let us say Amen.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you for being with us today. This special session of the Michigan Supreme Court stands adjourned.