Presentation of the Portrait of the Hon. Robert P. Young Jr.

November 28, 2018

Court Crier Jeff Mills: Hear ye, hear ye—the chief justice and justices of the Supreme Court of Michigan. All persons having business before this honorable Court are admonished to draw nigh and give your attention, for the Court is now sitting in a special session. God save the United States, the state of Michigan, and this Honorable Court.

Chief Justice Stephen J. Markman: Good evening, everyone, and thank you all for joining us this evening in special, special session of the Michigan Supreme Court for the presentation of the portrait of our former Justice and Chief Justice and colleague Robert Young.

This is one of those very occasional moments at which this Court pauses to reflect upon and to preserve its history.  Assisting us in that effort, of course, is the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, under the leadership now of Carl Herstein, which not only has sponsored this evening’s ceremony but has done so many things over the past three decades to maintain the institutional memory of this Court. Just outside the courtroom, for example, in our rotunda, you might notice that there is an assemblage of portraits that reflect justices associated with a number of historical firsts of the Michigan Supreme Court, and we’re proud of that mini portrait gallery that we have out there.

In advance of our main affair, let me please introduce just a few persons who have graced us with their presence this evening. We have the former three-term Governor of the state of Michigan, John Engler. We have two former Justices and Chief Justices of this Court, Clifford Taylor and Maura Corrigan. We have another former Justice of this Court, and now a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Joan Larsen—hi, Joan. We have a number of members of the Michigan Court of Appeals: Chief [Judge] Chris Murray, Mike Riordan, John Tukel, and Michael Gadola.  We have Ingham County District Court Judge Donald Allen and former Kent County Circuit Judge and now Director of the Office of Veterans Affairs, Jim Redford. We have, somewhere, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and a former General Counsel of this Court, Matt Schneider—Matt. And we have members of the Supreme Court Historical Society, including the former chief of the board, Charley Rutherford, as well as Oakland County Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris, and former presidents of the Michigan Bar Association and members of the Board of Directors: Bruce Courtade, Larry Nolan, Lori Buiteweg. And also we have our Executive Director of this society, Carrie Sampson. We also have my personal guest, somewhere here, Sam Knecht, who is Professor of Art at Hillsdale College and portraitist for the late Justice Thomas Giles Kavanagh, who served on this Court from 1977 to 1983. And, of course, I must take note that we have Bob Young himself here this evening along [laughter]—just so there are no mess-ups here—and his wife, Linda, and his two sons, Robert and Barrett.

Finally, let me say that having participated with Justice and Chief Justice Young in nearly 900 opinions of this Court, I really don’t need a portrait to remind me of what he looks like. [Laughter.] At least what he looks like on a very good day. [Laughter.] But this portrait, in truth, will assist the people of this state, as long as this remarkable Hall of Justice stands, that Bob Young was one of the great jurists of this state and that any serious assessment of the 119 opinions he authored, and the 64 other opinions in which he wrote separately, such an assessment can only conclude that these offer an education in the development of the law in Michigan, during one very significant generation of this Court.

I’ll now turn over the moderation of tonight’s portrait ceremony to my colleague Justice Brian Zahra.

Justice Zahra: Thank you, Chief Justice Markman.  I am certainly honored to serve as emcee as we honor my dear friend of more than 30 years, Robert P. Young, Jr.  Tonight, we honor Bob for his service to the people of Michigan, in particular, his service to the third branch of government, the foundation of which is marked by his unyielding commitment to the rule of law.

Before I say some carefully chosen words about Bob [laughter], I do want to commend our chief justice, Stephen Markman, for his stewardship of the Court over the past two years. Steve succeeded Bob. And we really didn’t know what to expect. But Steve has very ably steered the Court with exemplary leadership as we wrestle with many controversial and difficult questions. Let’s give Chief Justice Markman a round of applause. [Applause.]

And tonight is not just about Robert, it’s also a tribute to his family. Robert would not have accomplished as much as he did without the love and support of his family. His bride, Linda, and his two sons, Barrett and Robert the III, are the foundation of Bob’s being. Without question, Bob wears the pants in this relationship.

Justice Young: Come on.

Justice Zahra: But equally clear is the fact that Linda tells Bob which pair of pants to wear [laughter], and Barrett and Rob are quick to inform their father whenever he soils them.

In all seriousness, thank you Linda, Barrett, and Robert for enduring the stress of public life and sharing your father and husband with all of us who have worked with him here at the Michigan Supreme Court. The people of Michigan greatly appreciate your sacrifice.

Now, to the case at hand. First, thank you to all of the donors who made this event possible and all the members of our staff who contributed to this event—particularly Lynn Seaks—Lynn, where are you?  Lynn? [Applause.] Thank you so much for organizing another successful get-together here at the Hall of Justice.

Thanks, also, to the Supreme Court—the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society and its board members for all they do to preserve not only the portraits of past members of the Court, but preserving the rich history of our Court. We greatly appreciate all that you do.

Next, in keeping with the holiday season that commenced with Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks. I want to give thanks that there is only one Robert P. Young, Jr., and I don’t mean anything derogatory by this. Bob has the ability to inspire those around him to be their very best. Bob can do this by challenging us with his thoughtful, provoking words.  Sometimes he does it with his righteous indignation, and still other times, he does it with kind and inspiring and thoughtful words. He always seems to know exactly what to say and when to say it. Bob is so good at this, he always manages to extract at least 110 percent of the people with whom he works. And as such, no person could survive a clone of Robert in their professional world. So I do give thanks that when God made Robert P. Young, he broke the mold.

Like everyone here, I’m looking forward with much anticipation to see what this portrait looks like. I’m sure the painting will bear some resemblance to Robert. It should be no surprise to anyone that when artists are commissioned to do these things, they are often asked to make their subject appear more flattering than real life. Dare I say it? Artists are needed to take this task on so that they can apply their creative talent and paint a much younger and vibrant version of the justice.

Not surprisingly, Bob imposed such a demand on the artist commissioned to paint his portrait. And truth be told, it took several attempts before a realistic version of Bob’s portrait was produced. And while I do not know what the final product looks like, through the dark web, I managed to get my hands on one of the rejected efforts. I know it’s hard to see, but here it is. [Laughter.]

Justice Young: I’m a show and tell?

Justice Zahra: I’m told this looks more like Robert on his wedding day than on his retirement day, and that’s why they did not proceed with this one.

But this print made me recall a different portrait that hung on the wall of Bob’s office here at the Hall of Justice.  Indeed, it was a perfect likeness of our then chief justice. And in my humble opinion, it could have been donated to the historical society as Robert’s official portrait. This likeness of our former chief justice is a tapestry, woven by expert craftsmen from West Asia. Apparently, Bob greeted and entertained a delegation of foreign judges. Their interaction with Bob made quite the impression, although I’m not sure whether they were all positive impressions. While the tapestry depicts a striking likeness of Bob, they apparently also gave him a nickname that they inscribed at the bottom—please, take a look.  [Laughter.]

Of course, on occasions such as this, we think about the pantheon of Michigan’s Supreme Court justices of the past.  The touchstone is the big four: Benjamin Graves, James Campbell, Isaac Christiancy, and Thomas Cooley. And I think the best comparison to Bob is Justice Benjamin Graves, the first of the big four to serve on the Court. Why Benjamin Graves, you may ask? Because while he was whip-smart and intellectually brilliant, it was his aversion to manual labor that caused him to turn to the law as a profession. [Laughter.] I mean—really. Can you picture Bob with a shovel, or a drill, or a hammer? He did have a gavel available in a conference room, but he never used it. Instead, he had two demonstrative aids at his disposal that he would use any time someone expressed a view with which Bob disagreed.  One was a little red button the size of a hockey puck. Staples Office Supply made similar buttons part of their marketing campaign. My kids loved them. You’d push the button and you’d hear, “That was easy.” But when Bob pressed his red button, the word came out, “Bullshit.” [Laughter.]

Bob’s other demonstrative aid was a can of Shinola shoe polish. And when Bob picked up this can, he didn’t have to say a word. But he made it clear to you that he thought whoever was speaking was polishing a turd, and those are his words, not mine. [Laughter.]

But seriously, Bob’s tenure on the Court and particular his tenure as chief justice, was one of great change and reform in Michigan’s judiciary. Under Bob’s leadership, the Michigan court system became more efficient and more effective.  Michigan’s judicial branch of government became better stewards of the public resources given to us. Bob insisted that judges and courts listen to the public and respond to their concerns about court operations. There is no doubt that Bob’s legacy as a justice, as a chief justice, and administrator will live on for many, many decades.

And Bob’s administrative skills ought not be overshadowed for his opinions. He wrote dozens of opinions that will impact Michigan law for years to come. Among his finest, and one of my favorite, is Wayne County v Hathcock,[[1]] an eminent-domain case in which Bob wrote a unanimous opinion, in which the Court held that when the Michigan Constitution uses the word “public use,” that’s exactly what it means; the government can take your property for a public use, not for any public benefit.

And in In re Advisory Opinion of the 2005 Public Act 71,[[2]] Bob, writing for the Court, held constitutional a law that required voters to provide state official identification, a driver’s license, some official ID, or other generally recognized picture in order to vote. These are wonderful opinions, but they’re just two of the many, many great opinions that have impacted Michigan law, written by retired Chief Justice Bob Young.

But enough about Bob from me. Let’s turn to our impressive list of speakers. First up is retired Chief Justice Maura Corrigan. Just this past Monday, Maura was here in the courtroom. She was not arguing for a client, she was not giving a tour to her delightful and beautiful granddaughter, and she was not swearing in a new attorney as she often does.  Maura was not receiving an award, though she has received many, both for her service to our justice system and her efforts to help Michigan’s children. Maura was here on Monday to present the first Maura D. Corrigan Foster Family Lifetime Achievement Award to a great-great-grandmother, who fostered 38 children after raising five children of her own. I mention this award to emphasize a simple truth. Maura is a public servant, who has dedicated her life to helping others, especially Michigan’s children. Her work to improve child welfare in Michigan is truly remarkable. Equally impressive is Maura’s commitment to the separation of powers, the rule of law, and the proper administration of our courts. I truly believe Maura’s leadership inspired Bob, as she was an outstanding chief judge at the Michigan Court of Appeals and an exemplary leader as chief justice of our Michigan Supreme Court. Among her many notable opinions is Glass versus Goeckel,[[3]] the case that gives people the right to walk across the beachfront of Michigan’s Great Lakes. I know Robert dissented in that case; I still think it’s a great opinion. [Laughter.] Please welcome retired Chief Justice Maura Corrigan.

Justice Maura Corrigan: Thank you. Are you ready?

Justice Young: Give me your best.

Justice Corrigan: And may it please the Court, Chief Justice Markman, Justices, family and friends of Robert Preston Young, good evening. Thank you to the Court and to the Historical Society for hosting us. Tonight we celebrate Robert Young, our colleague and our friend, as his portrait is formally presented to this Court.

I want to begin with a wonderful German word that I just heard, and apologies to the German speakers in the room while I torture the pronunciation. The word is “torschlusspanik,” and it means the fear of time running out. Now, I admit that I have this fear especially now in my seventh decade of life because the time to say what really matters seems short. So here’s what matters about Robert Preston Young: he was an outstanding justice who served the people of Michigan with distinction, and that will be the verdict of history.

Bob and I worked together as judges for 15 years; first, on our state Court of Appeals, and then, on the Supreme Court.  We loved the work, we loved deciding the cases and tackling the issues of court administration. And when we got there, back in the early 90s, we’ll all remember that the Court of Appeals was horribly backlogged. It was plagued with long delays before any civil-case oral arguments were even heard. And every year we had a staggering number—thousands upon thousands of guilty-plea appeals by right.

Through a series of court-rule reforms, and new internal operating procedures, and a constitutional amendment that made guilty-plea appeals discretionary, the Court of Appeals became timely. And then Judges Taylor, and Justice—then Judge—Markman, Bob Young, and myself, many of our other Court of Appeals colleagues led by then Chief Judge Marty Doctoroff, worked to make this happen. Together, we thought about reforms and how to get those done. And Bob was a pivotal player in those reforms.

I think his interest in court administration began then and persisted when he was on the state Supreme Court. And Justice Zahra has already mentioned his leadership as chief justice here, marked by technology advances, by judicial performance measures, and most certainly by improvement in the relationships of the justices of the Court. But make no mistake about it—and I’m concurring with Brian Zahra, right now—it was Bob’s work in deciding the cases that made him an outstanding judge.

While preparing for these remarks tonight, I thought about what it is that makes a good judge. And I settled on three characteristics: a good judge is independent, a good judge is principled, and a good judge is diligent. Well, Robert Young is independent. Fiercely so. What does that mean to be an independent judge? Perhaps some of you are familiar with the remarks of Chief Justice John Roberts last week. He talked about judicial independence, and I quote him directly:

We don’t have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges, or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.

And so, too, in Michigan we are not Snyder judges, nor are we soon-to-be Whitmer judges, nor Engler judges, nor Granholm judges. And while many persons present in this room were blessed to be appointed by governors and appreciate so much the governors’ confidence and faith in us, the opinions that we render are our own. They are our own work. Donning a judicial robe means that the law itself is your client, and Robert Young, of anyone, understands this. That’s what makes him independent.

Bob learned independence at home from his parents. His father, a physician, Dr. Robert Young, and his mother, Robbie Jo, a florist. I can testify that his mother was a force of nature. When I met her, she was my mother; I had a mother who was a force of nature always. And Dr. and Mrs. Young were trailblazers. They broke color barriers, as did their children.  Most of all, I think, they valued education, and they taught Robert to strive to be the best and to never give up. And I think his subsequent scholarship and his great judgment clearly reflect the solid foundation given to him at home and the abiding influence of his parents and family.

So, second, a great judge is highly principled. Robert is and was, as my colleagues Justice Zahra and Justice Markman have already pointed out, Bob was one of the architects of a method of interpretation called textualism. And this was, of course, the approach advanced by Justice Antonin Scalia. Now a textualist does not pick winners and losers. A textualist does not make it up as they go along. Instead, the judge ascertains the real meaning of the words that the lawmakers actually use. And this honors the separation of powers. And I am going to eliminate the next section of my remarks—

Justice Young: Thank you. [Laughter.]

Justice Corrigan: You’re welcome. As I didn’t coordinate with Brian Zahra, but we both selected Wayne County versus Hathcock to talk about. That was an important opinion and decision of Robert Young. But as has already been pointed out, he’s been a principled decision-maker across thousands of cases.

And finally, a great judge is diligent. Robert came exquisitely well prepared to court conferences and to oral arguments; he had studied and done the surgery in his office and at home, so he was always ready to go for the jugular. I can hear him now, as I heard him over many years, at oral argument, “Counsel”—long pause—“Counsel?” And then would begin sometimes a tedious and pedantic [laughter], sometimes a torrent of questions for the unwitting, perhaps unprepared.  Now, some lawyers did very well with this. But some, and everyone on this bench can attest to it, there would be the person standing there at that podium. And first, they would have a deer-in-the-headlights look. Some days, it would be as if, when that lawyer was being questioned, “May that floor open and may it swallow me up, God, right now”; that was the reaction that Robert Preston Young could evoke in lawyers. Now I played around with this phrase for a long time and here is what I have settled on. Despite Bob’s penchant for such forays, I red-inked “evisceration,” I red-inked “flayings,” so the actual final language is “the forays” for such episodes with the lawyers. I did come, finally, to understand that such questions really did help us to identify the governing principle in the case. And so this is why I think that Robert has been an outstanding judge. Because he is independent, he’s principled, and he’s diligent.

Robert Young has also been and is a good man; he’s a caring and compassionate friend. During my late husband Joe Grano’s very long illness, Bob consistently supported me. He wasn’t afraid to ask the hard and painful questions and to put his arm around me. It is true that Robert and his sidekick, Clifford Taylor, are irrepressible teases. And I, to this day, resent the nicknames that they gave me. Including, “the Hurricane,” “Winston Churchill,” and my most favorite of all, “Mother Superior.”  [Laughter.]

Justice Young: There are others. [Laughter.]

Justice Corrigan: But when I broke the news to Bob that I was going to leave the Supreme Court, to join the Snyder administration, he cried. Bob has been richly blessed in this life. His wife, Dr. Linda Hotchkiss, has been his fulcrum and his anchor since they were sweethearts in college, I think well-more than 40 years ago.

Justice Young: Yup.

Justice Corrigan: And Bob calls his sons, Robert and Barrett, his greatest legacy. And I agree with observations like that because of how important children are. But Robert Young’s legacy is also here in this Hall of Justice. This is where Robert the genius, Robert the master of language, and the wizard of words, protected our Constitution and our freedoms for 22 years. Robert Young was faithful to his oath. He did his level best, and that level best was extraordinary. So on behalf of the people of Michigan, Robert Young, I thank you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your leadership. And may God always bless and keep you, Robert Preston Young. [Applause.]

Justice Young: Keep it short.

Justice Zahra: Our next speaker has an amazing legacy as state Senate majority leader, as governor, and now as president of Michigan State University. What is sometimes missed in the recitation of Governor Engler’s accomplishments as a tax cutter, job creator, and government reformer is how he reshaped Michigan’s judiciary through the appointment process. While the credit for his judicial reform most certainly must go to the Governor, his great success was made possible by the diligence and meticulous vetting by his chief legal counsel, Lucille Taylor, who I believe is here today, and the deputy counsel, Judge Michael Gadola, now in the Court of Appeals. Thank you both for all the work you did for the Governor.

Just look at his appointments to the Supreme Court. Who could ever forget the commercial, “Markman, Taylor, and Young. Oh, my.” [Laughter.] And then Governor Engler worked exceedingly hard to make sure his appointee to the Michigan Court of Appeals, then Judge Maura Corrigan, was elected to the Supreme Court in 1998. I was very happy for Michigan, and a few days later, I was very happy for me because the Governor appointed me to fill Maura’s seat. [Laughter.] As Governor, John Engler did for Michigan what President Reagan did for our nation. He took a government that was desperately in need of leadership and in grave economic despair, and he returned it to pride and prosperity.

But John Engler did something for Michigan that President Reagan only dreamed of doing for our nation. He transformed the judicial branch. When Governor Engler was ready to leave office, the Wall Street Journal observed that the Michigan Supreme Court “may be the finest in the Nation.”

Beyond appointments, of course, Governor Engler had the foresight and the vision to make real what had been promised for generations: a home for the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the State Court Administrative Office. This building that we are in, the Hall of Justice, is a testament to John Engler’s leadership and his ability to forge coalitions and get things done for the good of the people. Please help me in welcoming former Governor and now Michigan State University President, John Engler. [Applause.]

Governor Engler: May it please the Court, Chief Justice and Justices, and the distinguished assemblage that is here tonight to honor Robert Young and his legacy of service to the state of Michigan.

I leaned over to Cliff, just after Maura finished—I said, “Cliff, you want to go next?” [Laughter.] I mean, really, this is impossible. Maura, that was a wonderful tribute to Bob. And I think, you know, Bob was wanting humor tonight. He wanted everyone to, you know, kind of come here with a repertoire of jokes. But the judiciary is a serious place. And Bob, despite that great sense of humor, as Maura so eloquently testified today, was a justice who was consequential in Michigan’s history, and his presence on this Court, the Court that he was part of, has done so much and has meant so much to this state. And I thought about—I actually called Lucille today, and I said: “You know, this is impossible; I’m sort of wedged between Maura and Clifford. What in the world am I supposed to contribute to this?” And these are two Justices who served alongside Bob for so many years, first at the Court of Appeals and then the Supreme Court.

It was my privilege, and it is every governor’s privilege, as Governor-elect Whitmer will soon find out, when there’s an opportunity to make an appointment to the judiciary, to look at the individuals and to try to assess their judicial potential, and that is more critical as the judicial post maybe moves up through the judiciary. I think we have in the state today—I’m told something like 243 separate courts and we’ve got about 165 sort of funding units that are out there. But the seven members of the Supreme Court sit astride that and the third branch of government. And it is a separate branch, and it’s a judicial branch; it’s got its own article in the Constitution. And I was privileged to serve in the other two branches. So I—through my appointments—I guess I could dabble in the third one, you know. But I never had the privilege of being here, just like I never had the privilege of being a university president. [Laughter.] And so an honor which I, in both cases, would have perhaps been willing to forgo. [Laughter.] Now I’m aged-out, so I’m—impossible that I would be part of the judiciary.

But I did think about what are the things—and this is what Lucille and I talked about—what matters when it comes to appointing judges. And I have believed and spent many years in the legislative branches. Justice Zahra was kind to note in his introduction, some 20 years in the Legislature, a tenure which, due to term limits, is impossible any longer. But starting out with years in the minority in the House, where we dissented in the minority and then into the majority and eventually leading that majority. And along the way, saw many things and experienced many things. One of those experiences centered around the idea that the legislative branch, in doing its legislating, was attempting to write laws to address problems in society, to change the way work was done, or to change the rules under which work would be done. And when we would work hard and get a compromise at times, much of that time was spent in a divided Legislature. So you had to work across the aisle. And even if the Legislature was united, then perhaps the governor was with the other parties. You had always to work through compromise. But that compromise was hard-fought often, and it was the thing of campaigns, and campaign promises, and campaign controversies. But when people got sworn in, they had a job to do. And when they did that job, obviously, there would be sometimes—maybe frequently—someone would be unhappy. And so, where did they go? If they couldn’t persuade the governor to use his executive power to veto the legislative action, they seemed inevitably to head to the courts.

And I guess that formed part of what I thought about when it came to looking at who would be suitable and who would be most important to seek out. And these would be, I think, individuals who would certainly be, I think, somewhat predictable. But I started with the first principle of understanding separation of powers: that there are these three branches and that each of them have their own responsibilities. And that if we write something down—if it’s written in the Constitution, which has been cited twice by Justice Zahra and by Justice Corrigan in terms of one of Robert’s cases relative to the takings—there’s also a lot of other things that are in that Constitution that seem to be pretty clear. We actually found some things that were in the Constitution hadn’t really been applied before. Lucille’s great work as a student of the law and constitutional scholar, and some good advice from a lot of others, we realized the authority of a governor to reorganize the government was there. And Michigan has this kind of unique and young Constitution, only having it written in ’61 and ’62.

Interestingly one of the things, you know, these things come around, but Bob and I are at the campus, and we walk over to the International Center—and today, there’s the room where the old Con-Con furniture is in. And most of the students on the campus don’t even know what Con-Con refers to. But it does refer to the constitutional convention, and that’s where George Romney first, you know, came to power. And his Citizens for Michigan was one of the moving forces behind that. And John Hannah, the former president of Michigan State, was a member because nonpartisan folks served in that Con-Con. The president of the convention—the constitutional convention, was a member of the Michigan State Board of Trustees, Steve Nisbet. We actually put the sign back up in the room. They used to—it was called the Con-Con room at one time, and that sign disappeared; well we put that back up with an explanation that everything in the room actually was salvaged from the constitutional convention, which was held over here in the old Civic Center. It’s not over there, but down that-a-way now. But that’s all gone. But we did, while we had the opportunity to build a new building, named it Constitution Hall in respect for—really, the Constitution that got written in that building. But the importance of that Constitution in ’61–’62, it was a modern constitution. It got approved—talk about a close election—I think my memory is that probably under 1,500 votes was the margin in approving that. We’ve got the Historical Society here. Peter Ellsworth would probably know the exact number; he may have handled the recount, I’m not sure. [Laughter.] You know, but [inaudible] been around awhile.

But nonetheless, in that Constitution it had the executive article, legislative article, and judicial article. And I thought all these judges ought to be aware that there were these different articles, and these different responsibilities, and that interpreting the law as written—or the Constitution as written—was a good start in terms of a judicial philosophy. And the same one for statutes that if it said “no,” it ought to be “no”; if it said “the,” maybe that ought to mean “the”; if it said “a,” that was different than “the.” And you know, there’s some things like that.

And I know this Court has struggled with these questions, but Robert helped to bring clarity on some of these matters.  But—so I looked for judicial appointments that brought this sense of awareness of the Constitution and fidelity to it.  And who would understand the importance of bringing clarity to the law, predictability, stability. Those were three of the things that Lucille and I were talking about earlier today.

And clarity—I mean, we—people need to know what the law is. And because this Court has done, in recent years, a very commendable job, we’ve seen the number of appeals being filed dropping dramatically. It was not just eliminating that—that appeal by right of these guilty pleas; it was also clarity in the law so that if you could—as a lawyer practicing somewhere in Michigan read something, you realize that if it said “no,” this Court was going to say it means “no.” And we used to be a little bit critical saying that the old days—kind of like get a lottery ticket; it may say “no,” but if you can persuade it means “yes,” hey you get lucky today. And so we wanted that.

Predictability is the same thing. I mean, kind of the idea that if the process was going to work, it was going to work the same for everyone, and it was going to work regardless of who you were. And stability. Sort of all of these kind of come together to create—and then, as Maura pointed out, independent, principled, diligent. I mean independent in the sense that you have to be able to, you know, resist, you know, take the jersey’s off. We urge our trustees to do that—Michigan State, they are not wearing a donkey or an elephant, they’re—we want to put the green and white on, and we like that in the judiciary. Put the black robe on; take the party labels off.

So I think Bob Young in—when it was time to look at somebody—and I had to persuade him to give up the private sector. And why would Bob want to be rich, anyway? I mean, he’s rich with friends. [Laughter.] You know, he had Cliff, he had Maura, and he had me. And by the way, Michelle very much extends her regrets tonight. She’s in Texas with her dad, who is not in good health, and so she could not be here but very much wanted to be here.

I think Bob, in going on the Court and then having the opportunity—then elevate him to the Supreme Court, became the kind of justice that makes all of us very proud. And I think the point that has been made about his portrait being here and his own service being an exemplar of service as a judicial, rule-of-law judge, who really did follow the Constitution, follow the statutes, and enforce the contracts, you know. But this is the kind of judicial leadership, the kind of integrity, that is so significant.

And now I can tell you that, you know, we didn’t—even though he’s left the Court, his talents were simply too extraordinary to be left just to any old client, so we wanted to get him a client. And this is hard to get him to take the Harvard colors off, put the green and white on. I mean, we’re even working on Bob becoming a sports fan which is really odd. [Laughter.] That’s almost as strange as Justice Zahra seeing him with a shovel or something. You know, Bob cheering for a team.

Justice Zahra: I noticed he wasn’t at the tailgate. [Laughter.]

Governor Engler: You know, he did understand offense, because generally he’s been on offense most of his life.  [Laughter.] But defense—he didn’t play defense so well. And we’ve had to play a fair bit of that, too. But he has done the extraordinary job as general counsel. His vote to become general counsel was somewhat less unanimous than it was here at the Supreme Court when he became chief justice, I suspect. But, nonetheless, we have him in place. And the university and the 500,000 members of Spartan Nation are very, very proud. In fact, he has done so well that we received a call—this is going to shock you—on Monday from Ann Arbor. They were looking for legal help. There’s a certain very expensive contract down there. They were wondering if they could maybe break that contract. [Laughter.] And I said, no—no, he’s not going to—he’s not getting involved in this at all. I mean, it’s a—they were so hopeful, weren’t they? So hopeful. So sad. Anyway.

The work that Bob is doing now at Michigan State is—it’s a marvel to behold, and I get the privilege of working with him every day, and it is a delight. But it is built on a foundation of service to the people of this state. And he’s for sure doing public service again—pays just a little bit more than being on the bench, but the impact that he will have at Michigan State, as significant as it’s been already and as it will continue to be in the coming years, literally pales in comparison to the impact he’s had for the state of Michigan and the Court that he served on, the impact that they’ve had on state courts across the nation.

And so it was a privilege to be able to ask Bob to serve, and it was a great delight to watch him as he served the people of Michigan, as he explained judicial philosophy, as he explained rule of law. And I’m just honored to be asked to be part of this tonight. And it is impossible to follow Maura. Thank goodness, I’m preceding Cliff and I can get off the stage.

But Bob, I do want to say to you and to Linda, your family—and we know Bob recently lost his mom. She would have loved to have been here to be part of this celebration, but she too—we all have the images of Bob that are forever with us that we actually don’t need the picture and—actually carpet though—that or the—that—that one is up here, too, so—but I just, again, to the Court, thank you for honoring the Justice and honoring us with your attendance here tonight, and your presence. And to the Historical Society, thank you for what you’ve done. Not just in keeping Bob and these current justices, but what you have done in terms of bringing back the history of the whole Court.

Last night I was at Michigan State, and Governor Blanchard had a program. And Cokie Roberts was there. And one of the things she pointed out that he, Governor Blanchard, and her both serve on the Board of the National Archives, and she said one of her missions in life is to bring back civic education. And again, this Court deserves a great deal of credit for that Learning Center that is right downstairs, and the contribution that makes, because that’s a mandatory stop for anybody that comes to Lansing on a tour today. And heaven knows, civic education is desperately needed. And that does include some judicial education and understanding of what Bob seemingly has known for all of his life: that there are three branches, they each have their own duties, and we’re all better off if they don’t meddle in each other’s affairs.  So Bob, congratulations on a stellar career, on this very fitting tribute tonight; it’s an honor to be part of this, and congratulations. [Applause.]

Justice Zahra: When Robert joined the Supreme Court in 1999, I had known him as a blunt, boisterous, fun, opinionated person who would let you know exactly where you stood even if you didn’t ask for his views. That was not a problem when he was on the Court of Appeals. After all, you enjoy complete anonymity on that Court—ask Mike Gadola. [Laughter.] I was, however, a bit concerned when Bob—how Bob would present himself as a Michigan Supreme Court justice. But Bob quickly showed he was very judicious. His public remarks were thoughtful and professional, and he was nicely filling the public persona of justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. I was so happy and proud for him.

I also attempted to compliment then Chief Justice Clifford Taylor on materially assisting Bob in forming his judicious public persona. And without missing a beat, Cliff said to me: “Brian, Bob hasn’t changed one bit. True enough, he’s been spending a lot of time with me, but nobody hears the man banging the cowboy when he’s standing next to the guy yelling with the bullhorn.” And Cliff, most certainly, was the guy with the bullhorn. Those of us who have spent any time with Bob Young and Cliff Taylor know that laughter will fill the air when they’re together. Bob and Cliff share one important quality: they each think they are very, very funny. [Laughter.] And truth be told, both of them are very, very funny. Whenever Bob and Cliff are together, laughter just cascades through the room.

On a serious note, Cliff was the first of the foursome of Markman, Taylor, Young, and Corrigan to join the Michigan Supreme Court. Initially, he made his presence known through thoughtful and measured dissents. He eventually garnered the votes to write majority opinions, and he had a great impact in all areas of Michigan law, particularly, in the area of statutory construction and contract interpretation. Among his many great opinions are Wilkie versus Auto-Owners,[[4]] a case that quite commonsensically held that an insured who does not read his insurance policy cannot reasonably expect coverage not expressly provided in that policy, and Rowland versus Washtenaw County Road Commission,[[5]] in which the Court held another remarkable proposition—that a statute requiring a party to give notice to the state of injuries within 120 days of sustaining those injuries in order to avoid a governmental immunity must actually give such notice within the 120 days. They sound simple and commonsensical now, but they were difficult cases to decide at the time. I’m sure Cliff has some very funny stories to share with us, and I can’t wait to hear them.  Please, help me welcome retired former Chief Justice Clifford Taylor. [Applause.]

Justice Taylor: It’s really nice to be batting Republican clean-up tonight. Incidentally, if you wonder if your child is going to grow up to be a Republican, you’ll notice early on they start carrying blue boxes around.

I’m flattered to have been asked to give my thoughts on this occasion where we are honoring the service of Justice Robert P. Young, Jr., as his portrait is unveiled. His portraitist is the same as mine. She one time told me this really glorious thing. She said, “You know what the three worst words in a portraitist’s life are?” And I said, “No.” And she said, “When you unveil it, the honoree says, who is that?” [Laughter.]

I’m happy to speak here tonight because I believe he easily ranks as one of this Court’s great judges. I suppose I was natural for this as we served together, not only on this Court but also on the Court of Appeals for many years. And before that we had served on the State Bar Committee on Character and Fitness as well as the State Board of Law Examiners. When I joined the character and fitness committee, Bob was already on it, serving as chairman. I was immediately impressed with his abilities and remarkable capacity to deliver quite well-constructed, eloquent even, extemporaneous opinions for the committee, following a three or four-hour hearing on whether to approve for admission to the Bar, applicants who, while having completed law school and the Bar [examination], had had some misadventure in life such as drug use or the like that threw their character to undertake the practice of law into question. Bob would come up with just the right theme to his remarks, as he sermonized to the wildly apprehensive applicant, as to what his duties to his clients and the community at large would be once a lawyer. They were also sensitive, and I think altered the young applicant’s approaches to the law, and perhaps even to life. There was also one other aspect of these remarks, worth commenting upon, as it was a trademark of his work later as well. And that was his propensity to dip into the bowels of the English language at the crucial point, to come up with just the right words, which usually had been last used in the mid-sixteenth century or earlier. [Laughter.] Yet so clear, however, was the trajectory of his remarks that a little bit of language fog did no harm. Needless to say, such a budding pedant was immediately attractive to me; I like arcane words, too, but I try to go no further back than to use gems from the nineteenth century. Of course, as I mentioned, service together in the appellate judiciary of this state came later, and with it many re-election campaigns where we went on to confuse lots of meetings with just these approaches to public speaking. Mercifully, Justice Steve Markman, who was with us on the stump for two elections, usually restored order with a plain-spoken, quite-sophisticated analysis and thereby saved the day. In any case, I digress. But when I heard, for the first time, Bob turn on the smoke-machine homily, little did I know that this was a talent I was going to get lots of opportunities to observe.

Should you wonder if Justice Young ever mastered the common touch, my suggestion is that to answer that you go to read the first sentence of the much-referred-to Wayne County versus Hathcock. I won’t ruin it for you, but it contains a relic of the sixteenth century, I believe might well have been used last by the philosopher David Hume or John Locke. [Laughter.]

One more story and then on to the serious business of explaining his record. You may recall that Justice Young, awhile back, got the bee in his bonnet to run for the U. S. Senate. When all this went on, Lucille and I were in Florida doing law school teaching for the winter term, endeavoring—or at least I was, to turn innocents into Scalian textualists. So I didn’t have the opportunity to bring him the usual cold compresses and a very dry martini that usually brought him back to earth when he had crazy ideas. So by the time we were back from Florida, it was underway. To help, I volunteered to contact his many former clerks to raise money for the campaign. The willingness to help was remarkable; they were so generous and loving towards their old boss. For me, it was gratifying to have my understanding of what a fine person he was validated by those who knew him in a way I never would. These young people came from many political backgrounds but almost universally they were quick to lay their subsequent success largely on his developing their talents in the law and their attitudes on life and its snares. Many of them are here today, and you can chat with them easily as they all share some distinctive ticks and twitches [laughter] that apparently come from an extensive exposure to our honoree.

Speaking of political views, as you know, Bob is a Black conservative. Now, it’s not easy to be a Black conservative, but it’s even more complicated if you have a very prickly personality with a highly irreverent sense of humor. [Laughter.] I saw a lot of both of these things on the stump with him and have to confess I was absolutely no help in rescuing him, as I was so amused at scenes such as some Northern Michigan insurance salesman mulling on a morsel from Robert, like, “The solution was binary.” [Laughter.] Then again, I was there talking about the rule-of-law problems limbed by the execution of Charles the First of England in 1649. So I wasn’t improving things; it was really quite a show. Again, Steve Markman was left to make things right. He always did, and we actually won a couple of elections.

And now, I will be a little bit more serious. Quite simply, I believe Bob Young to have been, as I said at the beginning, one of the great judges in this state’s history. He came onto a bench, this one, that had long been, frankly, rather pedestrian. Some fine people had served, of course, but it also looked—it also had, looking back 50 years or so, housed former high-level executive-branch officials with little interest in the law, but lots in making policy. Lawyers who were trade-union favorites, who saw this position rather like an ambassador from an interest block might. And the possessors of Irish surnames with occasionally few other credentials. The bottom line was that much of the Court’s work reflected negligible intellectual heft. Treated poorly had been the disciplines that the Anglo-American rule of law requires, such as deferring to the political branch’s policy choices, no matter how distasteful, as long as constitutional.  Rigorous attention and adherence to the original meaning and context of rules of words and phrases filed in instruments before the Court, mastery of the impact of grammar and syntax on meaning, and simple honesty in refusing to distort or misread instruments to get results the judge liked better.

From his first day as a judge, he was intolerant of such failures and wrote great opinions returning the law to sound footings. Or, when necessary, reversing those that had gone astray. When he wasn’t in the majority, it was because he was uncompromising in his refusal to sign opinions that didn’t measure up to his standards, choosing rather to rewrite or failing that, preparing principled dissents which showed true north and blew the whistle on the trimmers and their arguments. These were opinions and dissents that attempted to return this once-great Court to the trajectory set for it by its greatest Justice, Thomas M. Cooley, in the early days of statehood.

Bob was joined in this effort, of course, by those who formed the frequent majorities on what I like to call the Engler Court, so great was the Governor’s role in putting—not just Bob Young and his ideas on the Court, but also others who shared them: Maura Corrigan, Steve Markman, and me. Moreover, Governor Engler guided and supported us through vicious election campaigns directed at us by those who sought a return to the days of undisciplined, result-driven jurisprudence.

In all those frays, Justice Young was tireless and, more importantly, fearless in patiently explaining to our citizens and our media that, as he put it, while the Court might have the raw power to go rogue and abandon the rule of law, it never has had nor does it have now that authority under our Constitution. To have argued for such a thing is quite a legacy, and I am glad to have shared it with this fine man. Thank you. [Applause.]

Justice Zahra: Well now we have a very special guest speaker, the better half of the Bob and Bridget show. While many were surprised with the friendship and strong working relationship that emerged in 2013 and beyond, between then Chief Justice Young and newly elected Justice Bridget McCormack, I was not. In my 30-plus years as a lawyer, judge, and justice, Bob and Bridget are among the most passionate lawyers I have ever come to know. Indeed, they have their differences. Yet their passion for the law and our system of justice form a strong foundation for a natural friendship. As a result, the Michigan Supreme Court not only was and continued to be an intellectually challenging place to work, it also became a very fun place to work.

Their positive relationship was the key to success of the Court over the four years they worked together. Together they helped the Court be more cohesive, more efficient, and more collaborative. Though, I must report that since Bob’s departure, Justice McCormack has had a rare moment or two of impetuous decision-making. [Laughter.] For example, she made a very unfortunate decision recently, in advance of the big game. This past weekend, Bridget made a very public bet with one of her counterparts on the Ohio Supreme Court. I even heard some sources report that, like senior [Michigan] running back Karan Higdon, Bridget guaranteed a Maize and Blue victory over OSU. And we all know how that turned out. Had Bob been around, I’m sure he would have advised Bridget to bet on Harvard, who beat Yale this weekend, 45 to 27. Friends, please welcome Justice Bridget McCormack. [Applause.]

Justice McCormack: I’m pretty sure I am speaking tonight because I insisted, so please don’t hold this against Bob.  [Laughter.] And I have some prepared remarks, but I want to say at the front end that there are a lot of things I love about Bob, and you’re going to hear about them, but perhaps, none more than the way he loves Linda, and Barrett, and Robert. That—whatever you think about him, it will melt away when you see the way he loves them. [Laughter.] And I want to briefly say that Justice Bernstein sends his best; his absence is not protest. In fact, it’s the opposite. As Bob and Linda will tell you, he is actually one of—a member of their family. This is true. He goes to their family reunions.

Justice Young: That’s right.

Justice McCormack: It’s a long story. Ask him about it later. But the photos are fabulous. [Laughter.] I first met Bob in this courtroom. I don’t know if he remembers it. I think he pretends to, but I was at the table he is now sitting at. I was an advocate for a prisoner. The Court actually requested my appearance. It was a prisoner who had no lawyer, and I was on the faculty of the University of Michigan. The Court called and asked one of the clinics to represent the unrepresented prisoner, and that fell to me. My students wrote the brief, but the student-practice rule didn’t permit them to argue. So I had to argue the case, which I did. And at the end of the argument, Bob complimented me from here—from the bench. I don’t remember where he was sitting at that point, but he told me that I did a better job than most lawyers who appeared in the Court. [Laughter.] And, you know, like someone with thinner skin might have translated that as an insult. But you know, thinking I was only a law student, he thought my argument was pretty good.  But since I was, in fact, an experienced appellate lawyer and a member of the University of Michigan law faculty, his assessment was not wholly positive. But I was pushing 40, and being mistaken for a law student sounded pretty good to me. Compliment taken. [Laughter.]

After my election in 2012, Bob’s was one of the very first phone calls I received. I don’t know if you remember that, either, but it was before 8:00 in the morning; he called to congratulate me and extend his assistance in making my transition. And that warm welcome that morning began a dear friendship. From that day forward, Bob always gave me his focused attention, his thoughtful consideration, his energetic reactions to all of my ideas, good ones and bad ones about cases, administrative projects, and even our own norms and habits.

I keep a lot of data in my own office—all right, Lori keeps the data, everybody knows that, about a lot of things that we do over the course of a term, including of course about our decisions and who decides what cases together, mostly for oral-argument cases. The rest of course—the denials, the abeyances, the remand orders—those are almost always unanimous, not always, but often. But in the cases that go to oral argument, where—those are the cases where you’d expect the most disagreement. Those are the hard cases, hopefully, right? They are the cases that need our Court’s attention because they’re complicated. Those are the cases where even when I disagree with a colleague I can clearly see their position—his or her position. So for the last full term that Bob served in those hardest of hard cases, Bob and I agreed 96 percent of the time. And in the other orders—

Unidentified Attendee: [Indiscernible.]

Justice McCormack: I know. I’m sorry. Add in those other orders and the number would probably approach somewhere near 99 percent; don’t hold it against him. Hell, don’t hold it against me; we’re judges. It was his job to call it like he saw it, not the way he wanted it to be. That’s what Bob did, and he was extremely good at it.

The only reason that might be surprising to some is because there’s a tendency for people to view the Court’s work through a partisan lens and to focus only on the cases where justices disagreed—and I mean this mostly by the media, not sophisticated people in this room—and to lump disagreements into partisan piles. I worry sometimes that that tendency is increasing lately and appreciated Justice Corrigan’s comments to that effect.

That view was simply not borne out by the time I served with Bob and Steve and Brian and David and Joan. That view was not borne out by the data. Which isn’t to say that we wouldn’t disagree in another branch of government, or over a cocktail, we would. We definitely would. But the easy explanation for why we would so often reach the same outcome in the hardest of hard cases is, of course, the rule of law. Bob’s decisions were driven by the principles that animate the rule of law: commitment to text, judicial restraint, and separation of powers.

Bob’s opinions say things like, and I’m quoting, “Because our judicial role precludes imposing different policy choices than those selected by the Legislature, our obligation is, by examining the statutory text, to discern the legislative intent that may be inferred from the words expressed in a statute.” Or, “when a statute is clear and unambiguous, judicial construction or interpretation is unnecessary and therefore precluded.” Bob did not view these principles as important in the abstract; neutral principles applied neutrally are the very foundation of our rules of decision. He cares about the words of the law, the real words on the page.

But decision-making is, or can be, only a part of what the Court does. Because we are also charged with the administration of the courts of the state, a charge that Bob Young woke up and went to bed thinking about when he was the chief justice. And they were long days. From the moment I met Bob Young, he was energetically involved in remaking the branch as one focused on serving the public through this aspect of our work; it doesn’t always get the most notice, but it’s probably the most important. Bob believed that our administrative operations had far more ability to both help and hurt people than any opinion our Court issued. And if there were things we could be doing to improve the way our Court served the public, he was going to figure out how to do them. So he set out how to figure out how to use technology to make the courts run more efficiently and more effectively for more people; to measure performance of our courts by asking the people who use them (the litigants and the lawyers) how they were treated, how we measured up; and to be good stewards of the taxpayer dollars sent our way by re-engineering how our courts work. He managed with these goals driving all of his decisions, embracing specific initiatives and programs that literally made life better for people across the state. Online dispute resolution allowed people with minor disputes to negotiate and resolve them online without missing a day of work to come to court. Investing in and growing our treatment courts allowed people struggling with addiction and mental-health issues to connect with services and resources to address the real problems that got them into court. Our limited-English-proficiency rule ensured that non-English speakers could understand what was happening in our courtrooms, and our self-represented litigant website is one of the very best in the country. Fifteen point two million people have visited it since we launched it. And its tool kits are used to generate forms an average of 256 times a day. People across the state who can’t afford to miss work, who are struggling with mental-health issues and addiction, who can’t understand or speak English, who can’t afford lawyers, are better off today in Michigan thanks to Bob Young’s leadership.

Back to my statistics. I also keep track of the number of questions each justice asks [laughter] at oral argument. As well as the number of courtroom laughs that each justice’s remarks produce. Yup—keep track. In that same term that I talked about before, Bob asked far and away the most questions. He averaged 22 per argument; Justice Larsen was next with 7. [Laughter.] For those of you computationally challenged, Bob asked three times as many questions as the next most talkative justice. He is curious to his core. He simply loves the intellectual back and forth. He can’t help it. As for laughs, again, he led the pack. Bob produced laughter in the courtroom seven to ten times more than most of his colleagues. And while I didn’t keep track of this particular subcategory, as I remember it, a high percentage of those occasions were the result of Bob making fun of himself. The rest were making fun of me. [Laughter.] And it was wonderful. Thank you, Bob. [Applause.]

Justice Young: Thank you.

Chief Justice Markman: I would now like to ask Justice Young if he would be amenable to unveiling the portrait, perhaps with the assistance of his family members. And thereafter, if you would be interested in addressing this Court.

Justice Young: That’s not it. [Portrait of Justice Robert P. Young is unveiled, followed by applause.] It’s a transition—crimson to green and white.

May it please the Court. Chief Justice, members of the Court, honored guests. I did not make remarks today. I was hoping the muse would visit me. It hasn’t. And that so many of you are here suggests to me that you were suffering, some large portion of you, from the misapprehension that this was my actual hanging rather than by effigy. [Laughter.] But I am here, Bob Young, representing a judicial career of trials, tribulations, some triumphs, and many blessings. It’s unusual to—as I understand it—at a traditional wake, for the honoree to have to say anything, much less have it be a rebuttal. But I must respond to many of the contumelies hurled during the several remarks, those invited and those not. [Laughter.]

But I want—I want first to begin with thanks to Lynn Seaks and Carolyn Adkins, who were responsible for hectoring me into doing this, which they knew I didn’t want to do. And I also want to thank Bruce Courtade—where are you, Bruce—for also bludgeoning people into contributing to the comestibles that were downstairs. They told me—first, they got me to commit to a hanging date and then they said you have to pay for the food. So I was too far gone to do it, and I appreciated Bruce’s help.

I also want to recognize my family, my wife—Linda Hotchkiss, of 43 years; we’ve been together since freshmen week at Harvard Yard, where we met—and my two sons, Robert and Barrett, who have always helped me by reminding me I’m not all that. [Laughter.] And my brother, Michael, and Judy. Somebody mentioned that this—we just lost our mother. That’s true. Maura mentioned to me that she had given a wonderful introduction to someone, and he said: “I wish my dad were here; he would have loved to heard it. I wish my mom were here, she would have believed it.” [Laughter.] That—that’s true here, too. She did, however, see the portrait because unlike the people who are sitting here who I’ve admonished to get the picture done before desiccation sets in [laughter], I went out early in my career and had Patricia Burnett do the portrait, as you can see, long before there was much gray showing. And since I did not want to rely on clerks to take up a collection—I mean, if you knew my clerks, you’d know how impossible that would be [laughter]—so I bought it myself. I paid for it. And since it was mine, I had to keep—protect it. So we put it in our dining room, which we never use, away from any public viewing of it. It faced the dining-room table where my youngest son, Barrett, did his homework. And I always said, I’m always watching you. [Laughter.] So she did see it, as did my dad.

What can you say about those who were asked, and some who were not, to speak tonight? Maura, you are in your eighth decade? [Laughter.] Uh, just—just saying. Maura, Cliff, Steve, and I were comrades in arms during the first 10 years of my life on this Court. I have many wonderful memories and some not-so-wonderful memories of the combat. I have many, healing now, defensive wounds from those first 10 years of combat; we were not a welcome change in this judicial firmament, and it was frequently ugly and difficult. And I deeply appreciated the support, emotionally and otherwise, intellectually, of my colleagues during those 10 years. That was probably the longest tenure on this Court where the composition didn’t change, unfortunately. However—however, we survived, and we made what I thought were thoughtful, careful decisions that did, I hope, promote more predictability. If you could read a statute, you could pretty much predict what this Court was going to do with that statute. And that was a useful thing.

As a young-pup attorney, when I began practice, it was almost impossible to tell your client what was going to happen. You could give them a statute and say, this is what the statute says. It looks like you are on the right side of the line, but, you know, some judge might say otherwise. And that was the state of the world in Michigan when I began practice. And that was one of my impetus for agreeing to Governor—President, or as I call him on campus, fearless leader—Engler’s importuning to avoid the 20 top-earning years of my life. [Laughter.]

And so let me, as I did in the beginning of my judicial career in 1995 at my investiture, thank my wife, Linda, for being—for her income [laughter] that allowed me to do this romp in the public service; without that, it would not have made the—made it possible.

John—what can you say about John? John ran toward the fire. He’s now president of Michigan State, and he’s literally a volunteer. He is volunteering his salary—he’s giving his salary back to the university. He is a visionary. He was a visionary who understood why this Court needed to be anchored in the rule of law. And he consistently sought people both at the lower-court level and all levels of the judiciary, who would reflect a deference to the constitutional limitations, and that’s a wonderful thing. And it’s a wonderful tradition that this Court will continue.

I mentioned the—I’ll get to you, Bridget. [Laughter.] I mentioned the dark decade. It was as painful a personal experience, as professional experience, as you can imagine. But it was not—it ended. The last six years of my term on the Court was an entirely different experience. It was a joy. We enjoyed ourselves; we had lots of fun. Cousin Ricky, is—I think he is boycotting [laughter], but he does come to our family reunions. I can’t stop my crazy cousin from inviting him, and he comes. So we do have pictures with cousin Ricky at family reunions. We enjoyed one another. We had very serious, very contentious debates. If you think Justice McCormack is an easy sell, you’ve got another think coming. But we managed during that transitional period to respect one another’s views, to listen to them. I mean, the first thing is you’ve got to listen. And you’ve got to suspend, somewhat, your instinct to believe that the opposing view is unworthy of consideration, and we worked it out. It doesn’t surprise me that we had as high accordance as we did among ourselves, because you certainly listen to reason. [Laughter.]

Justice McCormack: Is there a cut-off—

Justice Young: No, surrebuttal. I’m sorry. No, I—it was an unusual thing. We did have the Bob and Bridget show. Which was—almost from the very beginning, we had the first press conference, I think, in the Court history when we announced the language rule, there for the people who didn’t have language ability so that they could participate in the judicial process. And we obviously enjoyed one another. We—and that led to this kind of different way of interacting. So I’m—I commend that to you. Keep that going, it’s—it will help all of us if you do commit yourselves to listening, laughing at yourselves a little bit, because we all want you to be successful. Because when you are successful, we are too.

I also, finally, want to recognize my clerk family. I am deeply honored that so many of my scarred former clerks have come. They do have some tics. I am—two of my—the first Supreme Court clerks are here, sitting next to each other right there. They are mostly healed; there are a few tics left, but one of the things I miss most about not being on the Court is interacting with the clerks. I had such joy working with and molding minds. [Laughter.] And fortunately, I don’t face a Senate hearing so I don’t care anymore what you say. But I do—I do want you to know how deeply appreciative I was of the interactions that I had with you. That was one of the most rewarding of my judicial experience.

So I think that should end the homily. It’s late. I appreciate all of you coming. And let me just say one more time, it’s too late for Steve, but get your portrait done now before the desecration comes. [Laughter.] Thank you, very much.  [Applause.] Can we go now? She said I forgot Cliff. I forgot to acknowledge Cliff. [Laughter.]

Justice McCormack: He’s going back to the podium.

Justice Young: I’m sorry. No, I’m sorry.

Justice McCormack: We’re not going to give you another standing ovation if you stay here. [Laughter.]

Justice Young: No, I just want to acknowledge Cliff. I’m sorry. Because Miss Maura refused to let us sit together during most of the conferences, because—

Justice Corrigan: You misbehaved.

Justice Young: I—we did not misbehave. We were just having our own commentary. Cliff—

Justice Corrigan: —I had to separate you.

Justice Young: Yes—yes. That’s why we called you Ms. Maura and Superior. [Laughter.] I just want to acknowledge very quickly—Cliff was incandescently bright. He is extraordinarily funny, less so than I remembered [laughter], and was a faithful friend and foil as we worked our way through all these intellectual challenges. I would be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge because he lives near me and he will hurt me. Thank you. [Applause.]

Chief Justice Markman: I’d like to say one thing from the chair if I can here. Justice McCormack said some very kind things, some very moving things about Bob’s relationship with Linda. And I’d like to say something about his relationship with his children, although I would ask them maybe to close their ears if they wouldn’t mind.

Bob and I, from time-to-time, would compare notes on our two boys—we each have two boys—and their upbringing. And our standards and our expectations were always modest and reasonable for our children. I think specifically [laughter]—I think specifically, could we keep them out of prison? [Laughter.] And I see that Bob has continued to succeed in that regard. And I want to celebrate that accomplishment, too. I know just how hard it has been over time to do that. So congratulations, Bob, on that as well.

I would now like to accept this portrait on behalf of the Court, including on behalf of Justice Bernstein, who regrettably finds himself in some dead-end place like Venice this week. [Laughter.] And again, I would congratulate Justice Young, his family, his friends, and his colleagues for what it is we are celebrating today. And concerning all of you here, those who we’ve mentioned and those who we haven’t, those who we have noticed today in some way and those who we haven’t, we are really all so pleased to see all of you here at this somewhat difficult time of the day. And we thank you all for joining this evening—joining us this evening in celebrating this institution and in particular, the contributions to this institution of one of its very finest Justices, Robert Young. We will now stand in adjournment. Thank you.  [Applause.]

[1] Wayne Co v Hathcock, 471 Mich 445 (2004).

[2] In re Request for Advisory Opinion Regarding the Constitutionality of 2005 PA 71, 479 Mich 1 (2007).

[3] Glass v Goeckel, 473 Mich 667 (2005).

[4] Wilkie v Auto-Owners Ins Co, 469 Mich 41 (2003).

[5] Rowland v Washtenaw Co Rd Comm, 477 Mich 197 (2007).