March 28, 2018
COURT CRIER: All rise. Hear ye, hear ye, the Chief Justice and the Justices of the Supreme Court of Michigan. All persons having business before this Honorable Court are admonished to draw nigh and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting. God bless the United States, the state of Michigan, and this Honorable Court.
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: Good morning. [Indiscernible.] We don’t usually hold a session this late in the afternoon unless for one reason or another, there’s food and refreshment waiting in the rotunda upon adjournment. And that is exactly the case this afternoon, and you are all welcome to join us, so please do so when we’re done with this ceremony. I would like to welcome everyone, bench, bar, and public, to this afternoon’s special session of the Michigan Supreme Court, convened for the purpose of recognizing Elizabeth Clement’s investiture. Justice Clement, of course, is the newest member of this Court and has been serving with distinction since last November 17th, when she was officially sworn into office in this same courtroom.
Supreme Court investitures periodically highlight and celebrate the renewal of this Court, which, on a seven-person court, effectively occurs with the appointment or election of each new justice. To a greater or lesser extent, the ascension of each new justice transforms this Court and elevates a new voice with his or her individual perspectives on the administration of our state’s justice system, the proper exercise of the judicial power, and the prerequisites of the equal rule of law. The investiture, of course, is also an opportunity for new justices to introduce themselves to the people of this state and to the bench and bar, through the words of their friends and family and colleagues, as well as through their own expressions.
The investiture is, finally, an opportunity for this institution to periodically reconnect itself with its heritage—in this case, a 180-year-old constitutional heritage. And we on the Court are always appreciative of the work as we are today of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society in periodically reminding us of that heritage, through its efforts on investitures and other celebratory occasions of this Court. As with her 112 predecessors, Justice Clement will renew and rejuvenate and transform the Court. And she has already successfully embarked upon this process by her many actions and decisions and statements.
I will note only at this time that it is difficult to recall a new justice who has better embodied in a single public servant what is perhaps the most enduring principle of both our state and national Constitutions—the separation of powers. She has served in the legislative branch as legal counsel to the Senate majority leader; she has served in the executive branch as legal counsel to the Governor, and she now serves in the judicial branch as justice of Michigan’s highest court.
And in this regard, I would especially like to recognize and welcome the presence in our courtroom of Governor Rick Snyder, who has played a not-insignificant role in bringing into being today’s investiture. I’d also like to recognize the Lieutenant Governor of our state who is somewhere in this room as well. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, thank you, also, for being here. Let me now recognize for the purpose of serving as the master of ceremonies for this afternoon’s program, the Chief Judge of our Court of Appeals, the Honorable Michael Talbot.
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Good afternoon.
THOSE IN ATTENDANCE: Good afternoon.
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Even a trial judge will tell you if you do that in the morning, you’re picking that jury. And it means it’s going to be a very long day. [Laughter.] Good afternoon.
THOSE IN ATTENDANCE: Good afternoon.
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Now we got it. We’re already behind time so, what the heck, we might as well just pitch this thing out. [Laughter.]
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: You should see this schedule. This thing is down to a one-minute timeline—3:11 to 3:12, 3:13 to 3:14 [indiscernible]. So, that’s fine. That’s the way—that’s okay. The first thing on the program is you’ll see noted, is the Pledge of Allegiance with the Clement family; we’ve got Clare, Leo, and Camille. Would you like to come up? Did they tell you where they want you to stand and where you will lead us in the Pledge? Great. Come on up. Would everybody stand?
CLARE, LEO, AND CAMILLE CLEMENT: [The Clement children lead those in attendance in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.] I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Thank you. Would you be seated? I want you to just get a picture here in your mind of a task ministering in a parish where Mark Dantonio is a member of your parish, Tom Izzo is a member of your parish, Suzy Merchant is a member of your parish and for a nice long afternoon of listening to a confession, Beth Clement. [Laughter.] I’m going to give you good news here, Father, the job she’s got now, the confessions probably will be a little longer than where she used to work. [Laughter.] Father Mark, would you join us please for an invocation? Father, would you like everybody to stand?
FATHER MARK INGLOT: It’s an honor to be here this morn—or, this afternoon. I guess it is afternoon. Beth also now has to wear a robe for her job, too. [Laughter.] We have something more in common. Let us pray.
Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed your glory to all nations. God of power and might, wisdom and justice, through you authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and justice decreed. Assist with your spirit of counsel and fortitude Justice Elizabeth Clement, that her tenure on the Michigan Supreme Court may be conducted in righteousness and be eminently useful to your people and the Court with whom she presides. May she encourage due respect for virtue and faith. May she promote justice and mercy. Let the light of your divine wisdom direct her deliberations and the deliberations of the Court, especially Judge Clement, and shine forth in all the proceedings of this Court. Guide her and the members of the Court, and help them serve the people of Michigan in upholding the blessings of liberty, equality, truth, and justice. Bring success to her work, and reward her for the good she does.
We pray for the Governor of our state, for the members of the Legislature, for all judges and elected officials, and all others who are entrusted to guard our welfare. May they be enabled by your powerful protection to discharge their duties with honesty and ability. Blessed are you, our God. We pray in your eternal name. Amen.
THOSE IN ATTENDANCE: Amen.
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Thank you, Father. We didn’t do this, and it kind of speaks for itself, because it—just in case they’re not true they’ve got name tags in front of them. But I want to go along and introduce the justices, and we’ll work through the other judges who are present here today. You have heard from the Chief Justice, Justice Markman. Justice Zahra is to his right. Justice McCormack to his left and that is exactly correct. [Laughter.]
JUSTICE McCORMACK: When do we get a chance to talk back?
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Justice Viviano, Justice Bernstein and what—the man who was the youngest and the newest justice, but not anymore, Justice Wilder. Present also here today—and I—down at this end, great. Thank you. Judge McKeague from the Sixth Circuit and Judge Paul Maloney—we’re delighted to have you here.
From the Michigan Supreme Court, retired Justices, Justice Corrigan, who we’re going to hear from in just a moment, and Justice Thomas Brennan, the founder of Cooley Law School. Justice Brennan. [Applause.]
Let me go through the judges of the Court of Appeals, my colleagues, my brothers and sisters, Judge Chris Murray, Judge Peter O’Connell—down at this end, wonderful. Thank you very much. Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, Judge Michael Riordan, Judge Michael Gadola, Judge Swartzle—they’re—good—thank you—Judge Cameron and Judge Tukel, our newest judge. Thank you.
The Circuit Judges, Judge Alexander—very good—Judge Bazzi, Judge Cunningham, Judge Cusick, Judge Fisher—back—there we go. Thank you, Judge. Judge Lillard, Judge Maurer, Judge Lita Masini Popke, Judge Schafer, Judge Martha Snow, Judge Stutesman, Judge Trice, Judge Viviano, Judge Yokich, Judge Michael Warren.
From the Probate Courts, Judge Doreen Allen and Judge Harrison-Suratt. When I get a hyphen, I’m always afraid that it’s been typed up in the opposite—good.
From the District Courts, Judge Alderson, Judge [Donald Allen], Judge Buchanan, Judge Chupa, Judge DeLuca, Judge Erhart, Judge [David], Judge Haenicke, Judge Hoffman, and Judge Tom Brennan, Jr. These are the judges who are with us today, and we thank you all for being here.
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: Judge Talbot?
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Did I miss somebody?
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: Bob.
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Huh?
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: Bob Young.
JUSTICE McCORMACK: Bob Young, remember that guy?
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Is he here?
JUSTICE ZAHRA: He is here.
JUSTICE ROBERT YOUNG (from the gallery): Surprise. [Laughter.]
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Okay. I will tell you that I don’t have—I told you about the timelines, the schedule here. I don’t have a band that would start up to tell you to stop talking. So what we’re going to do is, we’ll have Bob—I was going to have Bob Young do it, but I can’t afford his hourly rate. [Laughter.] Okay, so—balance that scale off a little bit.
If you’ll allow me indulgence for just a second—I think anyone who has ever studied government, civics, fully understands and appreciates that one of the most important and enduring contributions that a Governor can make to the State is in the judicial appointments that he or she makes. Those appointments and the decisions those people make stay a long time after the Governor’s work is done. We thank you, Governor, for the appointments you’ve made and we particularly thank you for the appointment of Beth, today. I think we’re all going to be very proud of the years ahead. Would you please give us your remarks? [Applause.]
GOVERNOR RICK SNYDER: Well, thank you, Chief Judge. And before I make other comments, I do want to congratulate you and thank you for your 40 years of service. It’s an incredible legacy. The only thing I can say in addition to that, in addition to thanking you, is to say I believe you worked it out to be 40 years to the day how long you were going to be on the bench. And I think that clearly reflects someone that’s a nerd [laughter] although I won’t call you that. I will leave that for your own confession.
Mr. Chief Justice, thank you. It’s great to be with you again and the fellow justices. It’s wonderful to be in front of the Court again. This is a great occasion. I’m very proud to be here; watching Justice Clement join you is a special honor for me. I’m proud to appoint her. If you stop and look at it, she had fabulous service in the legislative branch before joining our branch.
What I would say, though, is to give you a little background and perspective. Back in 2010 when we were putting the administration together, it was really important, given the state of Michigan, that we build the best team we possibly could. And so we went for people with many different backgrounds. And one criteria I sort of had is to say I wanted to blend two different groups in particular. I wanted to find a number of “been there, done that” kind of people—people that were doing this not because they needed to, because they needed a job, but because they wanted to help. They had years and years of experience. The next thing I wanted to do was find people that were going to be the next generation of leadership in the state of Michigan, people that were going to have great, long careers. And the idea was is we could learn from one another. Now, you don’t have to guess what group I’m in by my hair color. I’m one of the old dogs.
But as a practical matter, when we looked towards the future, Beth was someone we identified as someone that had tremendous potential, not knowing what that ultimately may be, but to say here is an opportunity to have someone have, hopefully, great career experience to contribute to the state making a wonderful comeback and be well poised in position for decades to come to be a leader. Beth met all those criteria. And she provided tremendous service in the executive branch for nearly seven years.
What I would say is the only deficiency she had is she couldn’t hold a job. [Laughter.] She changed job titles several times, starting as my deputy legal counsel—and I’m glad to see another—I want legal counsel also to do well in terms of the Court, but also to see that continue in terms of being Deputy Chief of Staff and then my legal counsel. What a tremendous opportunity for me to learn from someone. So as I said, we were bimodal in some degree but it wasn’t about the next generation just learning from us old folk; we also learned from the next generation. And so I looked to Beth for great counsel, she provided it with great leadership.
So it’s a relatively easy call to say who would be a great justice. So I’m very proud of you, Beth, for the opportunity to join the Court. And I’m very proud of this Court, in particular. I believe we have the best Supreme Court in the United States, and I’m very proud of all our justices for their wonderful service. We’re providing a great benchmark about what the rule of law is, what justice really is. And we all have a role to play.
So, it’s with great honor that I’m here today, to share in this wonderful experience, to watch you, again, formally put your robe on and join this bench of outstanding people. But I’m proud to be associated with all of you, and we should be proud of the accomplishments our state has collectively made as one big team, one big family. And let’s keep moving forward. So thank you so much. [Applause.]
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Thank you very much, Governor. The next individual doesn’t need much of an introduction, but I will tell you—probation officer and U.S. Attorney, Wayne County Prosecutor if I remember correctly, Court of Appeals, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, Michigan Supreme Court, Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, four years of service to the state of Michigan in the Executive branch with the Governor and now in the private practice of law. So, Justice Corrigan, would you join us, please? [Applause.]
JUSTICE MAURA CORRIGAN: May it please the Court, Chief Justice Markman and justices, Justice Clement and members of the Clement family, Governor Snyder, Mrs. Snyder, and friends. I am so delighted that Justice Clement asked me to speak this afternoon as she is sworn in as the 113th justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.
Both of us proudly served in the Snyder administration. She, with all the different hats that she wore for the Governor over seven years, and myself having stepped down from this Court to serve as Director of Human Services—still what I think of, Governor, as the most challenging job I ever had. So we share our history in the Snyder Administration together. But also—and I love this about Beth—that when she was fresh from Michigan State University, she worked on my campaign for this Court 20 years ago. And that was her very first political campaign. So, I thank her for helping me way back then to become the 101st justice of the Court. And I plan to repay the favor this fall.
I also want to join Chief Judge Talbot in recognizing Tom, Chief Justice Tom Brennan, for his service throughout our state. And as a point of Michigan history, he was the 66th justice of the Court, the youngest man ever elected at age 36, and the youngest Chief Justice at age 38. This was 51 years ago. A round of applause, please. [Applause.]
So, who is this stellar young woman who is joining the Supreme Court today? What of her heart and her mind? First of all, I want to say I think her priorities are straight, because she is the wife, the devoted wife of Tom, and the mother of these three beautiful and intelligent children, Clare, Leo, and Camille. And I’m proud of you for that, and I share that priority with you.
In her professional life the Governor outlined for you already, she worked in the Legislature for two stellar senators, Mike Rogers and Mike Bishop, and then served in the Snyder administration with all of the roles the Governor told you about. But what do people say about Beth Clement? First of all, her colleagues describe her as wildly intelligent and possessed of an otherworldly work ethic. And yet, she’s very unassuming. I know about being unassuming; never underestimate someone who is unassuming. What we know about Justice Clement is that she quickly gets to the heart of an issue, and she communicates very effectively with those she leads so that everyone pulls in the same direction. She is calm and relaxed in the face of emergencies and prioritizes problems to get them solved.
Indeed, this is not a young woman who runs for cover. Instead, she runs toward problems. It’s as if Governor George Romney’s words to “be bold” are ingrained in Beth Clement’s DNA. And all of these gifts that she possesses are tied up with a perfectly wicked sense of humor. What I know about Beth Clement’s heart and mind is that she has the intellect, the integrity, and the courage to become an outstanding justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.
When I was preparing for today, I went back to read the words of President Ronald Reagan when he spoke at the investiture of then-Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Antonin Scalia. His words were beautiful on that day, and I want to paraphrase him. Reagan said that he was not looking for a conservative justice or a liberal justice—he abjured those labels. Instead, he said he was looking for judges who could protect government by the people. That’s the mission—the mission that our Chief Justice just spoke about in separating powers in our Constitution. I believe that Justice Clement can be counted on, and that Governor Snyder properly puts his trust and confidence in her, with this appointment.
So, today formally begins Beth Clement’s most significant undertaking yet. And that is to protect government by the people, to defend our Constitutions and to defend our freedoms. Our heartfelt prayers and hopes go with you, Justice Clement, and with this Honorable Court. May God bless you, God bless the great state of Michigan, God bless these United States, and this Honorable Court. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
JUSTICE McCORMACK: —where do you want me?
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: It’s up to you.
JUSTICE McCORMACK: Where do you want—I’ll go wherever you want.
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: I think right up there.
JUSTICE McCORMACK: Okay. How’s she going to hug me?
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: We’re trying to figure out—I’m not sure which is easiest for the Justice. The judges and the justices will tell you that there was—you try for collegiality and sometimes that’s possible, but there are times when that’s—that’s not all that easy. There was a time when this Court, the Supreme Court, struggled in terms of collegiality. Justice McCormack brought back the spirit of collegiality. She healed in many ways, along with the other justices of this Court. And it’s a privilege to be able to introduce her here today. Justice McCormack. [Applause.]
JUSTICE McCORMACK: Thank you. Colleagues, Clements, friends of Beth, and especially Beth. I am honored to have the opportunity to address you all about my newest colleague, and my friend, Justice Elizabeth Clement, and the meaningful role she has already assumed on this Court.
As I know you all know, the Michigan Supreme Court’s work is fundamentally collegial; that is, we make all of our decisions collectively. And as with other small collective bodies (like juries or corporate boards or scientific review panels), the goal is that our work product is greater than the sum of the individual contributions of its members.
Given this, every time a member changes, the entire body changes. It has to readjust and settle into its new order. And each new member brings her individual experiences, her talents, her work habits to our group dynamic, and the chemistry we had before she arrived is different. Add one more proton to platinum, and you have gold. Take one away from mercury, same.
Some of what Beth would bring to our body we could predict. For example, we knew she was very smart and that she was incredibly hardworking and that she was experienced at making difficult legal judgments about complicated questions and that she brought to us a legal background that none of the rest of us had. She worked as a lawyer in both other branches of government. Collective decision-making is richer and stronger when individuals bring diverse experiences to the table.
I am not sure we fully appreciated the deep and broad experience Beth showed up with on some of the administrative issues with which our Court was already involved, most especially, perhaps, treatment courts, but see also indigent defense and many other topics. Beth’s experience and expertise with our treatment courts is deeper and broader than any of the rest of us have, having worked on their development and implementation both in the legislative and executive branches dating back many years. So it is not surprising that she jumped into her role as the liaison to these courts with both feet, attending graduations across the state and playing an important role for us as we work to make sure our courts are truly serving the public. And that’s just one example.
But it’s some of Beth’s qualities that are not revealed on a CV and are less tangible, but which are impossible to miss now that she’s in my life in this everyday way, which I want to highlight.
To her core, Beth believes in collaboration. Her idea of working with colleagues is not politely interacting while pursuing her own goals. Rather, she wants to know what we think and to give us her own reactions and ideas. I understand now that this was the same approach she brings to all of her workplaces. In fact, I understand that at her last workplace, Beth aggressively institutionalized collaboration by leading her colleagues in an effort to get to know one another, not just professionally, but also personally, at a regular meeting known as Tea Time. Beth, I eagerly await “Supreme Court Tea Time.” [Laughter.] And I have some ideas for Supreme Court Tea Time which we can discuss when we are off the record. #NotJustTea. [Laughter.]
Beth is authentic, almost disarmingly so. She is genuinely interested in knowing the people who work with her, for her, and around her. She invites us to be ourselves, and she makes it perfectly comfortable for that to happen, because she is herself with us. She exudes kindness, warmth, empathy. She’s also hilarious—we are having fun—and she’s fully engaged in the world in which people who rely on our Court live. She knows more Game of Thrones trivia than any other justice in any state, I promise you. But her authenticity makes her easy to approach for help, to collaborate with, and to reason with.
Beth’s “mom skills” are off the charts. And by “mom skills” I don’t mean that she is a great mother, although she certainly is that. But that—I mean that she has found a way to be very successful in every professional setting she has landed in, by all accounts, with no shortcuts, but rather with hard work and long hours, which is of course what separates the great from the very good, and all the while fiercely loving and supporting each of her four children and her husband.
Clare, Camille, Leo, and Jordan, it is a joy to hear your mom talk about each of you and to see her face light up when she does. Sometimes you, too, Tom. The ability to meet the needs of four unique and active kids, each with their own talents and idiosyncrasies, while also succeeding in the professional environment is not just a testament to her organization and her multitasking skills, it is a bit of a superpower. And it is one we are now the lucky beneficiaries of.
But the single quality that has been an absolute pleasure to bear witness to is Beth’s curiosity. Beth is an insa—she has an insatiable appetite for learning anything new. In fact, she approaches each new issue with excitement—glee, even. She runs toward hard questions that require hard work. And we have a lot of hard questions that reach our Court. In my very first case call, we had a full grant with, I don’t know, 15 or 17 questions—that’s how I remember it—about the Drain Act. There’s a Drain Act, yeah. I was terrified. I have a feeling she would be thrilled. That’s what she’s like.
Here is one little data point in support of this argument I make: Sometimes I listen to oral arguments while—from other courts—while I’m in my car on long drives. Okay, sometimes even short drives, sometimes on the treadmill. It’s fun. It actually is. And I recently listened to one that was super interesting. It involved a Sixth Amendment question where a pro se criminal defendant was himself a lawyer. It was a fascinating argument from the Sixth Circuit. And I happened to be talking to Beth right after I listened to it, and I couldn’t help but tell her about it. It was 24 hours later when I heard from her that she listened to it, too. And she had reactions and ideas about what she heard. It was pretty exciting for me, I have to say. I don’t think she can help herself. She is constitutionally curious. And what better quality for a judge?
Hamilton said in Federalist 78 that the judicial branch would be the weakest of the three, because it had “no influence over either the sword or the purse . . . it may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but merely judgment.” And our own rules and norms underscore this. We are committed to a conscientious application of the principles and texts that bind us. Judicial restraint is the foundation of all that we do. We only answer questions asked of us. We are governed in answering those questions by precedent and the text of the statutes and the Constitution, whether we like the outcome or not. And that means that our judgment, the only contribution we make in this constitutional democracy, is the whole ballgame—which brings me back to where I started.
The thing about a collegial body like this one is that when it’s working well, when each member is contributing and complementing one another, there is no question that our whole is greater than the sum of our parts. Our collective judgment is better than any judgment one of us could arrive at solo.
And now to our whole comes this new part, Justice Elizabeth Clement, with her unique experience, her fierce intellect and curiosity, her authenticity and her energy, her humor and her empathy, to improve upon our sum considerably. One more proton, and a whole new element.
Welcome to the Court, Beth. I am so happy you are here. [Applause.]
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: The most intriguing speaker is the one that’s listed next. I’ve just—I’m kind of anxious myself to hear what he has to say. [Laughter.] So is Beth. [Laughter.] A great lawyer in his own right, been with the Attorney General’s Office, serves as our lawyer now. He’s the lawyer, General Counsel, Supreme Court, Supreme Court Administrator’s Office, and the Court of Appeals. Tom Clement. [Applause.]
MR. CLEMENT: Thank you, Chief Judge Talbot, Chief Justice Markman, Justices, Governor Snyder, Mrs. Snyder, Lieutenant Governor Calley, Justice Corrigan, Father Mark, members of the Judiciary, members of the Legislature, distinguished guests, family and friends, Beth.
I find myself in a bit of a unique position today. I am both General Counsel to this Court and the husband of its newest member. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in both of those roles. As you can imagine, many of my friends and colleagues, many of whom are sitting here today, upon learning of Beth’s appointment to the bench, thought they would take the opportunity to demonstrate to me what a great sense of humor they have. [Laughter.] So, with a great deal of patience, I have listened to many of you hit me with such witty barbs as, “Now Beth can tell you what to do at work and at home.” “Do you have to call her your Honor at home as well?” And my personal favorite, “I bet I can guess who your favorite justice is.”
Now, just so we can clear the air and address these important inquiries once and for all, the answers are as follows. She does not tell me what to do at work or at home, she merely makes suggestions. I do not call her your Honor at home because, in addition to that being a bit strange, that would put me at an obvious disadvantage when we disagree on something. And as to the question of who my favorite justice is, I can tell you without any fear of retribution that my favorite justice will always be whichever justice I’m meeting with at that time. [Laughter.]
As most in this room can and have attested—can attest—Beth is a phenomenal lawyer, now a jurist. She has, among other skills, a penchant for careful listening and exceptional writing, coupled with keen ability to analyze issues from all perspectives. I could go on, but you have already heard about Beth’s legal acumen from our previous speakers whose words carry far greater weight than my own admittedly biased opinion. I’d like to tell you about the Beth that amazes me a little bit more every day simply by the way she chooses to embrace each day.
Mother Teresa once said that not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love. While I am incredibly proud of Beth, I am not quite ready to call her Mother Teresa. But I do think this statement captures her outlook on life. Since I have known her—she has, since I have known her—been more focused on the effort being made than the result that it may yield. She takes comfort in the belief that if she takes what is in front of her and addresses it to the best of her ability, good things will happen. She finds happiness not just in the result—not just in the result—but in the work that it took to get there.
In no aspect of her life does Beth do small things with great love more than with her family and her friends. While there are many examples to share on this point, two of Beth’s longest character traits came to my mind while I was preparing these remarks. She loves unconditionally, and she can be depended on. Whether the circumstance of the moment is joyful, sorrowful, or anywhere in between, Beth is going to be there to do the small things to make the moment a little bit better. And I think that no matter who you are, if you have someone that you depend on and who you know you love—who you know loves you without condition— life gets a little easier.
I have not directly asked Beth if she considered being a Supreme Court justice and only the 11th woman, to be one of those great things. Knowing Beth’s humility, I suspect that her answer would be that it is not for her to decide and any time contemplating the question is simply not time doing her job. As for me, I love Beth for the small things. Thank you. [Applause.]
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Mr. Chief Justice, would you please administer the oath?
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: I knew I had to spend more quality time meeting with our counsel, and I will do that in the future. [Laughter.]
Justice Clement has previously taken her oath of judicial office, but today’s oath will be permanently memorialized in the official reports of this Court. By her accomplishments, she has earned the right to take this oath; it is what binds her as long as she serves on this body to abide by the requirements of the law, the requirements of the Michigan Constitution, and the requirements of the United States Constitution.
And there is no stronger bond between people than an oath. And for that reason, an oath is the foundation of our criminal justice system, and it is required by our Constitution for every public officeholder. In the end, of course, it is not the oath that makes us believe the man or the woman, but the man or the woman who makes us believe in the oath. And we firmly believe that Beth Clement is the kind of woman who will make us believe in the oath today. And that is what makes this moment a significant one.
Would you please raise your right hand, Beth, and repeat after me? “I, Elizabeth Clement—”
JUSTICE CLEMENT: I, Elizabeth Clement—
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: “do solemnly swear—”
JUSTICE CLEMENT: do solemnly swear—
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: “that I will support the Constitution of the United States—”
JUSTICE CLEMENT: that I will support the Constitution of the United States—
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: “and the Constitution of the state of Michigan—”
JUSTICE CLEMENT: and the Constitution of the State of Michigan—
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: “and that I will faithfully discharge the duties—
JUSTICE CLEMENT: and that I will faithfully discharge the duties—
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: “of the Office of Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court—”
JUSTICE CLEMENT: of the Office of Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court—
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: “according to the best of my ability—”
JUSTICE CLEMENT: according to the best of my ability—
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: “so help me, God.”
JUSTICE CLEMENT: so help me, God.
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: Congratulations. [Applause. Justice Clement dons robe.]
JUSTICE CLEMENT: It’s so quiet in here. Well, that was overwhelming, it really was—all the speakers and everyone that is here to celebrate with me, today. So, I first want to say thank you to—for that—because I’m speechless. I really am. I knew that this would, that this would be somewhat overwhelming, but I really didn’t think that I would feel this way.
So, first for my thank yous. Chief Justice Markman, my fellow justices of the Supreme Court, thank you for this opportunity to celebrate today with so many family and friends. I am so grateful to have all of you here today for my investiture. In the four months I have been on the bench, each one of you have been so kind and welcoming.
Thank you to the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society for hosting this event. And thank you to all of my new judicial colleagues who have made time in their busy schedules to be here to celebrate today.
Governor, I am so honored that you are here today to speak at my investiture and celebrate with me. Working for you was the best job I have ever had until you appointed me to this bench. [Laughter.] Your trust in me, and the tremendous honor of being a part of your judicial legacy in this state, means more to me than I could ever adequately express. Thank you.
GOVERNOR SNYDER: Thank you.
JUSTICE CLEMENT: Father Mark, our Pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, where my father went to school, I went to school, and my children go to school, in addition to all of the people that you mentioned that are members there, thank you for your love, guidance, and prayers for our family throughout this amazing experience, but more importantly, being there for Tom, me, and our children when we needed faith and prayers the most. Thank you for being here today, sharing this with us, and for the beautiful invocation.
Justice Corrigan, a dear friend and mentor to me. As you said, yours was the first campaign I ever worked on and definitely the most memorable jingle—I still remember it, [un?]fortunately. [Laughter.] I think there’s people in—that are here that do as well. I had this conversation recently with someone. Want me to do it? No. Your passion for the welfare of children in our state is the thing that has always drawn me to you. And I hope to pick up your mantle on behalf of the Michigan Supreme Court.
Justice McCormack, thank you for speaking today, and thank you for your friendship you have extended to me since before I was your colleague. I was very worried that I would not have as much fun in this job as I had in my previous jobs. You have successfully erased that fear. [Laughter.] Having the opportunity to serve with you, as the other female justice on this Court, has been great, and I know it will get even better with time—like the other thing you were mentioning. [Laughter.]
JUSTICE McCORMACK: Yeah.
JUSTICE CLEMENT: Chief [Judge] Mike Talbot, thank you for agreeing to emcee today. I knew we had a similar perspective on these occasions. Keep it moving, and make sure there’s some humor. You did not disappoint. I am so honored to have this be one of your last official events before you retire after 40 years on the bench. Congratulations.
My law clerks, Adam Pavlik, Jesse Kirchner, Heidi Williams, and Elizabeth Kingston. I am very lucky to have such smart, hardworking clerks that help me prepare and do their best to make me look good. They have made the last four months as smooth as possible, and I know it required a lot of hard work on their part, so thank you very much.
Judge Joan Larsen was not able to make it today, so I will pass along my thank you to Judge McKeague. Thank you for taking senior status so Judge Larsen [laughter], so Judge Larsen could be appointed to your seat, and I could have hers. I don’t know that you had it all planned out like that, but I’m going to give you all the credit for it.
To my judicial assistant, Andrea Hutchinson, thank you for this wonderful day. None of this would have been possible without you. Anyone that knows me and really knows me, understands what I mean. All of the details, logistics, the invites, the flowers, the food, my clothes, are all things that I have absolutely zero natural ability or talent for. Thankfully, Andrea loves all of it and took on this project with complete enthusiasm. I would also like to thank Lynn Seaks; Deborah Allen, Judge Shapiro’s judicial assistant; and Carrie Sampson; our Court Crier’s Office; and the court security who were a tremendous help to Andrea.
To my parents and family, thank you for being here to be part of this amazing day. I’m the person I am because of your love and support over the years. Thank you for always believing in me and telling me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. You were right; you know, I don’t say that very often, so—
Most important of all my thank yous today, to Tom and our children. To my husband, Tom, thank you for the life we have together. Thank you for fighting with me when you think I am wrong and supporting me in everything that I have worked hard for. You have always had faith in me and been my champion. You are my best friend, and I am thankful to have you by my side through this journey. I love you.
My wonderful children, Jordan, Clare, Leo, and Camille—we are so blessed to have the four of you. You keep me laughing, and you keep me grounded. I love that none of this seems to faze any of you. [Laughter.] You still expect the same from me and from dad, and I hope you always do. Although your dad and I have always had very busy careers, and we love what we do, you are what is most important to us. You are why we enjoy life so much and what makes all of this worth it.
To some of the mentors I have had through my legal career: Court of Appeals Judge Mike Gadola, I despised your red pen. I did—but will never forget the excitement I had the day I got a lengthy memo returned with not one red mark. I remember saying something to you about it, and you asked for it back to take another look. [Laughter.] I did not give it back. Thank you for making me a better writer, for trusting me to do my job well, and for all the laughs we had.
Joe Garcia, or Uncle Joe to me and my siblings: You have always been my cheerleader, sponsored me into the Bar, and continued to support me throughout my legal career.
Dennis Muchmore, thank you for pushing me outside of my comfort zone and telling me that I am more than just a quiet attorney that likes to research and write.
I also want to acknowledge John Pirich. Hi, John, happy birthday. Thank you for sharing this day with me, and congratulations on your retirement. You will be missed.
The past four months on the bench have been an interesting transition from my prior life. I really had no appreciation for just how different it would be. I was used to jumping from issue to issue, being on the phone from early in the morning until late at night, and on the weekends during all of my children’s sporting events, stepping out during Mass, hundreds of e-mails a day. It was really nice after—almost immediately after I started—my phone stopped ringing like three days after. I got a lot of congratulations, and then the phone stopped. It was really nice for a few days, and it was also kind of lonely.
About three weeks after I started, on a Friday morning right before 10:00 a.m., my cell phone rang. My former colleague, Andy Doctoroff, was calling, and I’m pretty sure that I answered it on the very first ring. When he heard my voice, he said, “Beth? Beth Clement?” I said, “Hey, Andy. What’s goin’ on?” His reply was, “Sorry, I misdialed. [Laughter.] I meant to call Beth Emmet.” I said, “Well, I’ve got time to talk.” “No, we’ve got a 10:00 meeting and I need to talk to her beforehand.” Thanks, Andy.
I can tell you how many times I have said—I cannot tell you how many times I have said—“I want a job where all I do is read all the time.” Well, I got my wish. It is a lot of reading. A lot more reading than I could have ever imagined, and I love it. It has only been four months, but I know that I will love this job for the many years I have before me. Not a day passes where I do not feel tremendous gratitude for the blessings in my life: my husband, children, family, and friends, the opportunity to be a member of the bar, and now as a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.
My promise to my colleagues, the bench and bar, and to the people of the state of Michigan: I will be fair, impartial, independent, thoughtful, and hardworking. I will listen to my colleagues’ views and analysis of the law and use my best judgment to reach the right decisions. I have learned through tough lessons throughout my life that it is more important to get to the right answer than to be right. Thank you all for your love and support, and thank you for being here today. [Applause.]
CHIEF JUDGE TALBOT: Mr. Chief Justice, back to you.
CHIEF JUSTICE MARKMAN: Thank you very much, Chief Judge Talbot. And now that Beth has rejoined us in your customary place, so the Court does feel whole again. I am quite certain that no matter how long Beth Clement serves on this Court, no matter how long and distinguished and dedicated her public service on behalf of all the people of this state, she will always remember vividly all that has taken place today in this courtroom—her family, friends, colleagues, bench and bar, all gathered together in recognition and celebration. Thank you again, all, for participating and for being here. We now stand adjourned, and we’ll look forward to meeting you in the rotunda. Thank you. [Applause.]