Bert Chandler

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Served from 1937 through 1943
Chief Justice: 1942


Bert D. Chandler was born in Rollin Township, Michigan, on March 19, 1869. He attended the public schools in Addison and Hudson, and later studied law in the office of the late Grant Fellows, a former Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Subsequent to his admission to the Bar on May 27, 1890, he formed a law partnership that continued until 1917, with the exception of the period from 1914 to 1915, when he served as Judge of the Thirty-Ninth Judicial Circuit. He practiced law with Fred C. Culver of Hudson under the firm name of Chandler and Culver until his election to the Court in 1936 to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Justice Nelson Sharpe.

Perhaps he may have been best known for his guiding hand in the infringement case between the Parker Rust Proof Company and the Ford Motor Company.  When he was elected to the Court, he was reluctant to assume the duties of a Justice because of his limited formal education. Deprived in his early years of the privilege of an extended formal education, Chandler nevertheless became an educated man in the full and inclusive sense of that term.

Through intensive reading he became well-grounded in history, particularly in the history Michigan. He once said, “I cannot understand how anyone who knows the history and romance of Michigan and who has experienced all that it offers, could wish to live elsewhere.” Chandler was also well read in the biographies of those who have been foremost in the adventure of developing the government and the industries of the United States. (Michigan Supreme Court. Michigan Reports: Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of Michigan. Rochester, N.Y.: Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Co., 1949 – 1998, Vol. 321.)

After Chandler’s retirement on December 31, 1943, he continued to live in Hudson until his death on December 13, 1947.

Portrait Artist:
Gamble, Roy C.

Oil on canvas

128.91cm X 80.65cm (50 3/4″ X 31 3/4 “)

Owned by:
State of Michigan

Current location:
Hall of Justice – 6th Floor:
Justice David Viviano’s Suite

Portrait photo by:
Douglas Elbinger – June 1996