Howard Wiest Fiftieth Anniversary Of Admission To The Bar

OCTOBER 16, 1935

Upon the coming in of Court in the afternoon of October 16, 1935, MR. WALTER S. FOSTER of Lansing spoke as follows:

 May it Please the Court:
I was told just before the noon recess that Your Honors would permit a brief interruption upon reconvening at this time in order to give recognition to an event which occurred 50 years ago today. In so doing, I am speaking in behalf of the attorneys here present.

October 16, 1885, a young man named HOWARD WIEST, who had learned the machinist trade and then studied law in a Detroit office, was admitted to the bar. No college course was possible for him though he now deservedly holds the honorary degree of LL.D., from the great University of Michigan. Since that admission he has had a distinguished career, serving more than 20 years as circuit judge of Ingham county and is now in his 15th year as a member of this bench.
Fifty years is a long time, may it please the Court, 50 years is a long, long time to have been an active member of this profession! We who are presenting cases here today feel that the occasion should not pass unnoticed. We are pleased that some news of the event has spread about the capitol and that we are graced with the presence of the governor and other high State officials.

Three years after my own admission I was elected prosecuting attorney. Judge WIEST was then the only circuit judge of this county and I had no assistant, with the result that I was before the judge frequently and soon learned to appreciate his extraordinary ability as a judge. In passing, let me say that I now admit, though I would not then, that I must have been very green as to my qualifications, for I distinctly remember one occasion when the judge corrected me rather vigorously and when I remonstrated, he replied: “That is the way I learned. It won’t hurt you.” Evidently he thought I needed the correction—and I probably did.

During all these years as a jurist he has served courageously and with painstaking care. He is famous for his clear and lucid opinions from this tribunal, a trait early typified by his marvelous charges to the jury.

I count it an honor to pay this anniversary tribute to Mr. Justice WIEST in behalf of the bar present, not indeed, upon his natal birthday, but actually upon his professional birthday. He is a credit to our profession and has rendered a profound service to the State. We felicitate both him and the people of Michigan upon this memorable occasion.

 Chief Justice WILLIAM W. POTTER responded for the Court as follows:
On behalf of myself and the other members of the Court, I desire to express our appreciation of the thoughtfulness of the members of the bar present in taking action to honor Mr. Justice WIEST.

It is not given to many to serve at the bar of this Court for a period of half a century. I have known Mr. Justice WIEST personally for more than 35 years, and during that period he has constantly grown in wisdom and ability. Perhaps, it is not too much to say that he is justly regarded as the most widely read man on the bench, and we trust that he may have many more years of judicial usefulness. In the language of Michigan’s first chief justice— no intrigues are imputed to him, no artifices to disparage the merits of others, no interferences with official appointments, no tamperings with corruption or ambition. His public and private life exhibit alike a model of exemplary purity and nobility of character.