July 11, 1980
CHIEF JUSTICE COLEMAN: Perfect. I am sorry that we cannot accommodate everyone. We do have a public address system in the lobby, so I think no one will miss any of these words of wisdom.
I am Mary Coleman, Chief Justice, and den mother of this august body. We are gathered in informal session obviously, and I am delighted to see all of you here today. We welcome you most heartily. I understand I am not to say very much or take up much time because there are important people who have important messages to relate today.
Is the Lieutenant Governor here? Perhaps he’s not arrived yet.
I would like to call first then upon the President of the State Bar of Michigan, Ivan E. Barris.
I never thought the occasion would arise when I would indicate to an august body like this that it is with pleasure that I am attending the hanging of THOMAS BRENNAN.
As the Court knows, this is the fourth in a series of unveilings of portraits. The first, of course, was that of former Chief Justice LELAND CARR, followed by that of former Chief Justice DETHMERS, and former Chief Justice THOMAS M. KAVANAGH. All of whom, of course, have passed away. It was of course a pleasure to be in attendance at those three happy occasions. But in a sense, all of those gentlemen were yours. We look upon THOMAS BRENNAN not only as having been yours, but he is now ours. And I would like to explain that briefly.
Justice BRENNAN, of course, did us all honor and did the administration of justice honor while he was a member of this body. Since January of this year he has become a member of the Board of Commissioners of the State Bar of Michigan. And I can assure you that the perspicacity, enthusiasm, and just common horse-sense, which made him not only an able administrator, but an excellent jurist, has steaded the members of the State Bar of Michigan well in the sense that he has brought to our body a perspective which I think we needed. And we appreciate those of you who had the foresight to select Justice BRENNAN to join us.
But enough of the present. I think it was rather obvious from the word go, and I had this on reliable sources from such individuals as Pat Keating, our Vice President, that Justice BRENNAN very early in his lifetime foreshadowed the success which he has had, not only as a lawyer, not only as a judge, not only as an educator, not only as an entrepreneur, but also as an individual who has in so many ways given so much to the profession which we all love.
Justice BRENNAN, I understand, was a student at Catholic Central High School in Detroit, where he excelled in forensics. Thereafter he went to the U of D, U of D Law School, where again he was, to quote Mr. Keating, “A true leader”. We all know that thereafter, after a successful career as an attorney, he successfully became a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, of the Wayne Circuit Court, and ultimately of the highest Court of our state.
It is, therefore, a pleasure as a spokesman of some 19,000 lawyers to do honor to an individual when he can be here to enjoy those kind words, on this happy occasion of the unveiling of the portrait of Justice BRENNAN.
I think it’s going to be difficult for an artist to capture his handsome physiognomy, and I’m looking forward, and I hope he at least comes close.
But we wish Justice BRENNAN all the best, and by the way, may I remind you, a week from today we expect you, notwithstanding, to be at the Board of Commissioners. Thank you.
CHIEF JUSTICE: Thank you very much, Ivan. I have had the privilege of being on the Bench at the same time, and perhaps just before the departure of THOMAS BRENNAN. I could add quite a few kudos to what you have said. But I would like to say that I hope the artist has caught his sense of humor on the portrait. We had very lively sessions when he was here.
I have seen the Lieutenant Governor enter. Lieutenant Governor Brickley, representing the Governor of this state, William G. Milliken. Would you say a few words?
LT. GOV. BRICKLEY: Thank you very much. Thank you, Madam Chief Justice, and members of the Court. If it please the Court, and Tom and Pauline, and their family. I see them sprinkled throughout here in great numbers. When I first participated, your Honors, in a ceremonial function with Tom Brennan, their children were smaller. A couple of them were on Pauline’s knee, as I recall. That’s when he started all of this business at the lower courts, as a Common Pleas Judge. He used to tell me that you had to have more qualifications to be a Common Pleas Judge, because the statutes required that you had to have a certain number of years as a practicing attorney. Yet, as we know, when you go all the way up, to the United States Supreme Court, you don’t even have to be an attorney. So Tom had sufficient qualifications to qualify for the lower courts, and obviously had sufficient qualifications to rise to this high level of the judicial branch of our state, and to grace this Court for the number of years that he did. It just seems to me that he is too young to be having his portrait hung. But, so be it, as he embarks on yet another career, which we know now has been very successfully undertaken and is proceeding very nicely. He continues to make his contribution to the law in a way that none of us ever envisioned, I doubt even he envisioned, in our early years.
But I’m one of those, if it please the Court, that has been privileged to know Tom, and to work with him, and to have been benefited in my own career by his wise counsel, and comradeship, and we have been close over the years. This has been a very moving experience for me today, as it marks yet another milestone in his great career. Governor Milliken, Tom, asked me to express to you his warm feelings about what’s happening today, and his wish that he could be here. As you know, there are a few things going on in Detroit, with which he’s very much involved. I join all your family and friends in congratulating you for all that you’ve done for us, and for the state, and for the law over the years, and it is such a pleasure to be here to mark it with this very solemn and very joyous occasion. Thank you very much.
CHIEF JUSTICE: Speaking for the family, Thomas E. Brennan, Jr.
Now I’m certain that the position of oldest child means far more than simply being the guinea pig for parental behavior. Indeed, I am deeply honored to speak before this eminent Court and truly privileged to present the Brennan family on this memorable occasion.
May I first extend, on behalf of our family, our sincere gratitude to all those who have played a hand in this eventful day. In particular, we’d like to thank all our friends and relatives who kindly gave their time to join us today. As Mr. Barris stated, we were somewhat curious to see those in attendance, since the word went out that the hanging of the former Chief Justice would take place today. Now I’m not sure whether we should be encouraged by the wall-to-wall visitors. Nevertheless, we surely are delighted, because we are here to honor a man that has been blessed by the Almighty with a tremendous amount of family love and pride.
Personally, I’m extremely grateful to my father. Surely, I didn’t expect my innocently stated intentions of becoming a lawyer years ago would cause the exuberant act of quitting the Court and starting a law school. So it is with my father. Luckily, none of us children thus far have shown an interest in the medical profession. It has been said that behind every great man is an equally great woman. I think this was discovered long before the feminist movement. In our household my father has always been the head, and my mother the heart, and the body of any living family cannot survive one without the other. So keeping in mind that all the success and accomplishments of our honored guest is jointly attributed to the woman of his dreams for nearly 30 years, I ask the Court to recognize my mother, Pauline Mary Brennan.
There is of course another woman in my father’s life, to whom he owes his very existence, and she is the matriarch of the Brennan clan. Once an Irish maiden named Sullivan, she is now the proud mother of five, grandmother of twenty-two, and great-grandmother of two more. I ask the Court to recognize my dear grandmother Mrs. Joseph T. Brennan.
Next, my lovely wife Julie, who has proven to my father that not all good things shall come to pass from him. And she has been a legal secretary. Will you stand up, Julie? She’s been a legal secretary for eight years, and recently she took the LSAT. I think she’s trying to tell me something, but I’m not sure.
My sister Peg, and her husband Dave. If you’d stand. Peg is an account executive with an advertising agency in Chicago. And Dave will soon receive his law degree from the University of Michigan by finishing up at Northwestern University. I won’t ask this Court to try and figure that out; I haven’t been able to myself.
My sister Mary Beth; she will be attending the–she will be attending MSU as a junior this fall. After Peggy was married not too long ago, Mary Beth curiously asked my father whether all of his daughters had to marry lawyers. And my dad graciously answered, “No, just so long as he goes to law school.”
Finally, the prize that keeps us all young and honest, Ellen Mary. She is in her second year at East Lansing High School. And we think she’s the best of all of us put together.
My brother John. John, who is Peg’s younger twin by about three minutes, spent some time in the seminary before deciding that his true ministry lies in the banking industry. Manufacturers National Bank of Detroit is now, I should say, blessed with his efforts. John will also begin working towards a Masters in Business at the University of Michigan this fall. That is unless his father talks him into law school.
My brother Bill; where’s Bill? Bill graduated from Michigan State University this year, and since he can’t sing or dance he will be attending, naturally, law school this fall. And he—it seems he’s chosen to forego the more comprehensive legal education at Thomas M. Cooley Law School for the more prestigious diploma at the University of Michigan.
And now the rest of the Brennans. My father’s sister-in-law, Pat Brennan. Where’s Pat? She’s right here. Pat also received her law degree from the Detroit College of Law this year. And incidentally, Pat’s oldest daughter and son-in-law are both, you guessed it, lawyers in Denver, Colorado. Joseph Terrance Brennan, my father’s older brother and Pat’s husband, was himself a renowned lawyer in Oakland County for many, many years until his untimely death in 1977.
My father’s sister, Sally Teevens. Is Sally here? There.
My father’s sister, Mary Bernard, and her husband Jim.
And my father’s brother, Raymond J. Brennan, and his wife Laurie. Only God knows how many future lawyers each of them have bred. The other introductions that I have–I’d like to introduce to the Court my father’s aunt and uncle, Emmett and Betty Sullivan. Where are they? Emmett is, to no surprise, a lawyer. Now retired I believe, but he won’t admit it anyway.
Leo and Adele Drolshagen. Are they here today?
How about my aunt, Ann Brennan, my father’s aunt, is she here today? Yes, she is.
There are just two more introductions I want to make, because they were very much a part of my father’s Court years, and in being so they became somewhat close to our family. We nearly consider them members of the family. They were his two secretaries, and I’d like to introduce them. Mary Ann Farhat and Mary Lou Shepherd. I dare say that Mary Lou Shepherd taught him how to be a justice, and Mary Ann reminded him of it.
So you see, Madam Chief Justice, my father’s interest in the legal profession and legal education has started somewhat of an epidemic among the Brennans. But it should come as no surprise; we are indeed a tightly woven group. My father is thoroughly and deeply loved and admired by each and every member of his family.
He taught us first things first, God, family, fellowman, and country, in that order. And if fervently followed, there is no failing.
His drive towards excellence is contagious to those around him. And he transcends the generation gap. Father aside, he is our very best friend.
Before I conclude, I’d like to share with you a comment that was made to us by him this afternoon. We were all gathered together sharing a meal this afternoon as he loves to do, especially on days of great occasion. My brother-in-law Dave Radelet had asked him, “Judge,” he said, “what was the most memorable occasion, or situation while you were on the Bench?” And he thought for a minute. I thought he was going to say something like the Crash Program, or conflict of interest, I don’t know. But anyway, he said, “The day I was elected Chief Justice. And I drove home and I got there about 6 or 7 o’clock at night.” He was commuting from Detroit at that time. And he got home, of course the news had reached Detroit. He cam into the house, and it was kind of quiet, and he walked into the living room and he saw above the fireplace, on the mantle, a huge picture of himself that had been taken from one of his old billboards, and above the picture had the letters, “B.D.C.J.” So all of the–we kind of surprised him, all the kids came in, mom and so on. And he was bewildered. He had a clue on the “C.J.”, but he couldn’t figure out what the “B.D.” was. So he was overwhelmingly pleased, but he said, “What does that mean?” And one of the kids said, “Big Daddy, Chief Justice.” We consequently sat down and had a fantastic family meal, just the eight of us. That was his most memorable moment in the Court, and I think that says a lot for the way he feels about his family and himself, and his role as Chief Justice.
When the portrait is presented I would ask this Court to pay particular attention to the glitter or the gleam in his eyes. I venture to say that a close inspection would reveal that sparkle as the vivid reflection of a most proud and loving family. Thank you, Madam Chief Justice.
CHIEF JUSTICE: It’s difficult for me to imagine a more moving tribute to a parent. I, myself, am deeply moved. I also must observe that he must have something a little more than my husband and I, because our children are doctors.
Honorable RICHARD M. MAHER, Judge in the First District of the Court of Appeals, will speak of the early years.
JUDGE RICHARD M. MAHER: Chief Justice COLEMAN, distinguished members of the Supreme Court, my colleagues from the Court of Appeals, honored guests, members of the Brennan family, Tom and Pauline. I hope that you’ll excuse my glasses, I’m not that old.
About ten months ago I was blessed with the new name of grandfather. So I bought these glasses just simply to act the part. I certainly don’t need them to read this speech. And if, you believe that, then you must believe that Justice LEVIN is a flaming conservative.
In any event, once upon a time, about 30 years ago, there was a law firm, or a law office, if you will, comprised solely of Robert W. Waldron, Esq., who was then a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives and was soon to become the much respected minority leader of that body. And being both a busy and a shrewd man, Bob Waldron realized he could not effectively split his talents between Lansing and Detroit. So Bob case his resolutely Republican bread upon the water and fished up a real keeper, THOMAS EMMETT BRENNAN, Waldron of course assuming that he was taking on someone who would mind the Detroit store. However, Bob had bought more than he bargained for, because instead of a storekeeper, Waldron had hired a Lee Iacocca as his chairman of the board.
TOM BRENNAN joined Bob Waldron in 1953, and they operated out of a pseudo-elegant elevator shaft in the First National Building in downtown Detroit. It was about this time I first met Tom and Bob. I was introduced to them by a mutual friend who is also important to this story, James Leo RYAN. I must confess I was immediately intrigued, and undeterred by the elevator shaft, and by Waldron’s exotic filing system which consisted of papers jammed into cardboard cartons bearing the name of a well-known feminine hygiene product. I irrationally and totally committed myself to that firm.
Jim RYAN immediately jumped ship and left for a leisurely tour of duty with the Navy in the perilous seas off San Diego. It was at this juncture that Tom Brennan scored a major coup: he convinced his older brother, Joseph Terrance Brennan, to join the firm. This proved to be a stroke of genius, since Terry, besides possessing both brilliance and integrity, was the most practical Irishman I’ve ever known. He was constantly reminding us that we were in the business of practicing law, of earning a living, and not playing at politics.
In any event, during the year 1959, Bob and TOM and Terry and I moved from the pseudo-elegant elevator shaft into a larger quasi-elegant broom closet, and set up the partnership of Waldron, Brennan, Brennan and Maher. And I feel at this point I must add my first and only personal aside. When it came time to vote on the formal wording for the name of that firm, Irish blood proved to be stronger than seniority. I had joined the firm several months prior to the arrival of Terry Brennan. But Waldron, in his canny Wasp fashion, kept his own counsel, and let the Roman Catholics fight it out.
So instead of Waldron, followed by Maher, to be enclosed within a parenthesis of Brennans, we became Waldron, a brace of Brennans, concluding with Maher as the exclamation point. May I add to my certain recollection, that has been the only time in my entire life that I ever voted against a Brennan. The vote was obviously two Brennans, to one Maher with a Waldron abstention. Subsequently, if our firm did not precisely flourish, we did a least consistently survive, with an occasional heady upswing into prosperity.
When I speak of the firm of Waldron, Brennan, Brennan and Maher, I do not, speak simply of a group of legal men gathered together for the collective purpose of equity and argument. I speak here of a legal family. In a very real, real sense, Terry Brennan was as genuinely my brother as he was Tom’s and Bob’s. As the firm matured, all the partners, with the exception of Terry, bent more and more toward the political arena. Tom Brennan, when he was 23 years old, and still a law student, had finished fifth out of a field of 21 Republican nominees for the State House of Representatives.
That was in 1952, and Tom was defeated.
In 1954, Tom ran for the same job. And again, he was defeated. In 1955, Tom mounted a major-scale offensive in the 16th U.S. Congressional District, and that seat too he lost to the still incumbent and our much admired friend, Representative John Dingell.
In 1957 and 1959, Tom ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Common Pleas Court for the City of Detroit. But we are told that all things come to him who waits, and waits, and waits. And might I add, to him who works. Finally, in 1961, Tom was elected to a seat on the Common Pleas Bench by the mighty plurality of 652 votes. However, Tom Brennan was never a man who would sit, cool his heels, or his heart, and in 1963 he was appointed by then-Governor George Romney to the Wayne County Circuit Bench. Tom ran for and was elected to that same job in 1964. In 1966, Governor Romney again called upon Tom to seek the nomination of the Republican Party as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan. Tom won the nomination and the election in a stunning, inadvisable, under financed, and unpredicted victory. During the years 1969 and 1970, Tom served as Chief Justice, and resigned from this Court in 1973 to devote his full efforts to the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.
And during this long interval, our law firm had not precisely languished. Indeed, we had recruited, and enticed some superior legal talent. However, we continued to be politically top heave. Jim RYAN had returned from his military tour of duty. And if he wasn’t excessively gung-ho, he was at least replete with the Navy hymn. Added to that military occupation we shared adjacent office space with the triumvirate of Shaheen, Gribbs and Brickley. Joe Shaheen is currently enjoying success in the field of real estate management and development. Roman S. Gribbs is a former Sheriff of Wayne County, a former Mayor of the City of Detroit, and currently Wayne County Circuit Judge. James H. BRICKLEY worked in a dairy, was employed by J. Edgar Hoover, was an unusual and highly uncommon common councilman in Detroit, is a past president of Eastern Michigan University, is currently Lieutenant Governor of our state, and is presently presumed to be seeking more meaningful employment.
We did have a few non-political partners, all of whom fortunately read the graffiti on the walls and left while they still had their legal wits about them. Some like Dick Lehman escaped fortuitously to the rewards of private practice. And others like Eddie Dilworth embraced the bosom of mother motors. And still others, like my friend and brother, Terry Brennan, had an instinct towards sanity, and chose instead the relative anonymity of his family and the quiet practice of law in Farmington Hills.
The best and truest thing I can say about our old law firm is that Terry Brennan was our brain. Bob Waldron was our political heart. I suppose I was the legs. But most importantly, Tom Brennan was the soul. Tom gave us the thrust, the direction, the impetus, and the most vital of all virtues, the will to strive, to take a chance, to survive, and to create. I’m happy to honor Tom Brennan today. To call him my friend, and to call him my brother.
Thank you very much.
CHIEF JUSTICE: Well, I am learning many things this afternoon about my former colleague. All good. There must be something that is not. We have not heard that yet. Maybe next.
The Chief Justice years will be discussed by Michael J. Devine.
Although I’m well aware of the nature of these proceedings, and I’m sure the Court will be pleased and accept the portrait of the distinguished former Chief Justice, as I stand here before this honorable body, in this most important of courtrooms, the lawyer in me keeps wondering whether there’ll be any dissents filed.
In preparation of these remarks, and in review of the Chief Justice years of TOM BRENNAN I thought of the immense changes which have occurred in the decade since his tenure. And at the same time, how many institutions, procedures, and problems have not changed. Just by way of setting the tone in the era of 1969-1970: the President was Richard Nixon, our Governor was William G. Milliken, Detroit’s Mayors were the late Jerry Cavanagh and Roman Gribbs, and the Michigan Supreme Court consisted of THOMAS M. KAVANAGH, EUGENE BLACK, PAUL ADAMS, JOHN DETHMERS, HARRY KELLY, THOMAS GILES KAVANAGH, and TOM BRENNAN. These were busy, active and rewarding years at the Supreme Court, and although the accomplishments, ideas and innovations and proposals are the most important part of one’s record, it’s the people who are the most cherished and treasured memories. Those people during Tom’s term who worked for the Court, and who were the real machinery of the Court, the late Don Winters, Hal Hoag, Phil Sprague, Bob Krinock, Jerry Reif, and last, only to emphasize her importance, the faithful, kind, efficient, and the adjectives go on, Mary Lou Shepherd, who made the Chief Justice’s office work.
Those years were special to Tom and Polly and their family, and for those of us who worked here at the beginning of his term, in fact, even before he moved on several fronts, and the most obvious to all us gathered here is this chamber. In 1969 the Supreme Court was housed in the Capitol Building, and although filled with tradition, it was also filled with antiquated furniture, equipment, old carpeting, and anything else you could imagine.
Justices BRENNAN and BLACK shared an office in Lansing, in the Capitol, which measured approximately 10′ x 20′, and I may be generous with that. And their desks were pushed together, and they faced each other. And the secretaries were likewise across the two-foot aisle in the same office. The filing cabinets were along the wall with the single-line telephones on each desk. The crier sat in the hallway which doubled as the library, and there was the ever-present hum of the large window fan because there was no other ventilation in the room. After many problems, including money, furniture, carpet, and with the newspapers and TV announcing each item purchased and its cost, the dreary,
rundown Supreme Court offices in the Capitol gave way to the present facilities in this building. And finally the Supreme Court was housed in suitable quarters.
And speaking of quarters reminds me of one other problem. Because of the Court’s move it now took two quarters to park. An offensive item to certain of the Justices, and the media had a field day with the now fifty-cent parking issue.
On another front, the Court was moving in uncharted areas of implementation and operation of the then new statewide district court system, and simultaneously the Judicial Tenure Commission. Shortly after becoming Chief Justice, Tom provided the press with opinions, administration information, and accessibility for which they had long cried, but until then had been denied.
And if those weren’t enough in the busy early months, the State Bar Grievance Commission was formulated, which for the first time included non-lawyers in the attorney discipline process.
On May 1, Law Day, in the inaugural State of the Judiciary Address, before a joint session of the Legislature, the Governor, and robed judges from throughout the state, Chief Justice BRENNAN proposed statewide financing of the court system, including employment of all court employees by the unified court employer. In the same address, and remember, this was 1969, he proposed the reorganization and consolidation of the Wayne Circuit and Detroit Recorder’s Court, with two election districts, and the establishment of the Detroit District Court which would include the present Common Pleas Court. A bill was introduced, but defeated. As I previously said, some things change, and some things never change.
A huge backlog of criminal cases had grown in Detroit Recorder’s Court, caused in part by the Detroit civil disturbance, which demanded immediate attention. The Chief Justice instituted a crash program using the old Recorder’s Court building, old St. Mary’s School in Greektown–borrowing judges, clerks, court reporters, and money from wherever available, it was scratched from every source, and under its able director, Bob Krinock, the backlog was licked. At the same time, an emergency judicial plan was established for handling the civil disturbance type mass arrests. And those procedures were soon tested and proved workable in arrests in Oakland County during some park disturbances.
A solution at times which I remember, and I’m particularly fond of, arose over the appointment of a one-man grand jury in Oakland County. The bench was divided. The newspapers were clamoring. Lou Gordon was yelping. Will Mueller of the Detroit News nipping at the C.J.’s heels. And no easy solution, in fact no solution, was on the horizon. A week or ten days passed, and Tom and I were riding to the office in Lansing from Detroit, and the light blinked on in his ever-fertile mind—reconstitute the bench, and reconstitute he did, assigning judges from around the state to consider only the question of the one-man grand jury and reassigning the Oakland bench. The decision was made. The grand juror impaneled was Robert Colombo, then of Detroit Recorder’s Court. That problem solved, what was next?
The summer of 1969 found Washtenaw County, and all of Michigan, suffering through a continuing state of terror over unsolved deaths of eight University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University co-eds. When finally an arrest was made, the press from all over the country converged 700 strong on the Ypsilanti District Court, which was housed in a 15-seat courtroom. Tom Brennan appointed a Supreme Court employee as temporary Court Administrator for Washtenaw County, and what might have turned into a national newspaper and radio and TV circus, did in fact result in an orderly balance between free press and fair trial.
At the same time, during his tenure, he noticed a decline in the participation by the lawyers, and the judges, in the annual State Bar meeting, and he decided to make some changes. The State Bar, rather than hold its meetings in Lansing, was urged to hold its meetings in Detroit, which they did. At the same time, the State Judicial Conference was held in Detroit and well-known national figures were hired to increase the interest in the convention. The move proved so successful that they continue in the same manner today. However, these moves were not without problems. In fact, it was during one of these meetings that for the first time a circuit judge, who will remain nameless, lost his entire wardrobe to a thief at a judicial conference. It turned out well however; that judge not only replaced his wardrobe, which needed replacing, but he traded his circuit role for one of justice of the Supreme Court.
As most appropriate in this election year, Tom proposed, and a bill was introduced, changing the partisan method by which the Supreme Court nominees are chosen. The proposal is still not adopted, but is a solution which still has merit. And although I can’t continue to recite them all, I have to include one more idea that came during our daily treks to Lansing. That was of establishing a law school in the shadow of the Capitol, at the heart of the legal system. An idea then, and now another accomplishment. To Tom Brennan, I salute you my friend: your ideas, your accomplishments, your proposals, your friends, and your entire record have not been dimmed by the passage of a decade. Congratulations.
CHIEF JUSTICE: You have touched upon a couple of very tender spots. I must say that I harbor a not-so-secret feeling of gratitude to then Chief Justice BRENNAN, for having purchased the carpets and the furniture and what not. Now, I receive little messages from the Governor’s office or from somewhere, “Cut your budget by a million or two and it may double.” We may be hard pressed for paper clips, but we do pay that fifty cents, personally. I am of course moved to say that eleven years later we almost achieved what Tom Brennan had proposed. We lost by one vote in the Senate in the Court Reorganization and State Funding of Courts. But we are going to go back in September and we are already working on finding whatever votes are needed in order to achieve this goal. It’s high time–too long.
Louis A. Smith will speak of the Cooley years. And I will announce at this time also that he will present the portrait which I can hardly wait to see.
MR. SMITH: Honorable Chief Justice COLEMAN, Justices, Lieutenant Governor, ladies and gentlemen.
The year was 1972. The historical scenario for that year included many memorable events, among them: a U.S. President visiting, while in office, the land of China; Apollo 16 astronauts successfully completing the first manned mission to the mountains of the moon; police arresting five burglars at Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate in Washington, D.C.; the intensified bombing of North Vietnam; and the death of Harry Truman, the thirty-third President of the United States. To all of us the recollection of the events aforementioned brings back a sense of yesteryear; of places, people and time special to each of us.
1972 further provided many here today with a benchmark never to be forgotten. For it was in the year of 1972, and specifically on June 19, 1972, that the Articles of Incorporation were filed by Justice THOMAS E. BRENNAN giving charter, and indeed birth, to The Thomas M. Cooley Law School—the first new law school in the State of Michigan in over 50 years. The filing, approved by the Michigan Department of Education, over the strong opposition of the existing law schools in the state, empowered The Thomas M. Cooley Law School to award the degree of Juris Doctor.
Justice BRENNAN, surrounded by a few close friends, and reveling in the prospect of bringing the possibility of legal education to central Michigan, in fact to the capital of the state, next proceeded, with his wife Polly, to organize the administration, faculty, facilities and enrollment of the embryonic school. On January 12, 1973, at a gala festivity, the first Board of Directors of The Thomas M. Cooley Law School, in black tie, hosted a reception for the first class of 75 students and the first lecture in humble surroundings located at 507-1/2 South Grand Avenue, above a print shop, across the street from The State Journal in Lansing. Historians shall note the first lecturer at The Thomas M. Cooley Law School to have been Justice JOHN W. FITZGERALD, seated here today.
Three months later, on April 16, 1973, the State Board of Law Examiners approved The Thomas M. Cooley Law School as “reputable and qualified”, thus permitting its graduates to take the State of Michigan bar examination. Special recognition must be given here to Professor Stanley E. Beatty, then member of the State Board of Law Examiners and a member of the first Board of Directors of The Thomas M. Cooley Law School, who unselfishly championed this early cause so vital in the growth of the school.
The Thomas M. Cooley Law School Board of Directors, inspired and led by Justice BRENNAN and buoyed by the number of applications received in the early days of the school, immediately sought a facility capable of housing the growth potential of the soon-to-be nationally ranked law school. Thus, on July 24, 1973, approximately six months after the first lecture, Justice BRENNAN leased, with an option to purchase, the Masonic Temple Building at 217 South Capitol in Lansing.
Yet many did not believe. Didn’t believe that The Thomas M. Cooley Law School could survive. Didn’t believe that Justice THOMAS E. BRENNAN could or should, in fact, bring “practical scholarship in the law” to Lansing, Michigan. As opposition mounted to Cooley, particularly from its sister institutions, Justice BRENNAN once again answered the call. In his August 29, 1973 letter of resignation from the Michigan Supreme Court to the Honorable William G. Milliken, Governor, he stated, referring to the students enrolled at Cooley, and I quote:
“I feel a deep sense of responsibility to these students, and to thousands more like them who share similar dreams. They are the hope of the future for all of us. They will be the post-war, post-Watergate leaders of our state, and of our nation. We would deny them the benefit of our experience and the wealth of our heritage at our peril.
“The directors have invited me to become the first dean of Cooley Law School. I have consulted my dear wife, and our six children. They support me in the decision to accept this position.”
Thus it came to be that The Thomas M. Cooley Law School had as its first dean the man who linked not only his career and the well-being of his family, but indeed his reputation, with the hopes of the students who were then attending The Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Under the leadership of Justice BRENNAN the law school witnessed the acquisition of the Masonic Temple Building in Lansing, on March 1, 1974.
On February 25, 1975, The Thomas M. Cooley Law School received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association, at the American Bar Association Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
The first class—The Thomas M. Cooley class of 67 members—graduated January 18, 1976, not under the flickering fluorescent tubes of a second-floor classroom above a print shop, but rather in the spacious and regally appointed auditorium of The Thomas M. Cooley Law School, now a focal point in the capital area.
After six rigorous on-site inspections by the American Bar Association, on February 14, 1978, The Thomas M. Cooley Law School received full accreditation from the American Bar Association at the American Bar Association Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana.
As of Fall, 1979, Cooley Law School has:
1,070 students, representing 191 colleges and universities, 43 states, and 2 foreign countries; 20 full-time professors and 64 practicing attorneys and sitting judges serving as adjunct professors.
In its most recent count, Cooley boasts:
1,074 graduates and 846 members of the bar. 139 graduates have not taken the bar examination, leaving a 9