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NOVEMBER 1, 2001
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Good afternoon and welcome to this very special session of the Michigan Supreme Court. This afternoon we are convened to receive the portrait of our much loved and respected colleague, Patricia Boyle, a member of this Court who has touched the lives of everyone in this room and many people across our state of Michigan. When I was thinking about today, I thought that no ordinary welcome would do for an occasion like this. And because Patty and Terry Boyle and many members of this audience, myself included, share a love of Ireland, I wanted to extend to everyone in the room today an Irish welcome, céad míle fáilte, which means 100,000 welcomes. One hundred thousand welcomes to you Patty and to you Terry, and to everyone in this room. And I extend 100,000 thank yous to the people who worked so hard to organize this afternoon’s event.
There is a long list, and time does not permit me to extend thanks to everyone who participated, but I would like to especially thank and recognize the co-chairs of the event committee, Tom Kienbaum, Mary Massaron Ross, and Reginald Turner. Let me at this point call on the chair of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, Wally Riley, who will serve as the master of ceremonies.
WALLACE D. RILEY: Thank you, your Honor. Madam Chief Justice, Members of the Court. Probably the thing that the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society has done most effectively and most successfully is to present portraits of justices who have recently retired from the Court. And no portrait is more important than the one we’re going to present today, that of Justice Boyle. It’s my pleasure on behalf of the society to call on Geraldine Ford.
JUDGE GERALDINE FORD: Chief Justice Corrigan, Justice Cavanagh, Justice Riley, Justice Kelly, Justice Markman, Justice Taylor, Justice Weaver, and Justice Young, Patricia, Harry, Jeff, Jason, Kurt, and David, and this whole audience of friends, some of whom I served with and some of whom have just been plain friends over a long period of time. I’m very proud to have been asked to participate today. The principal reason is, as some of you happen to know, I’m speaking about a friend and a solid friendship which has endured for a period of almost forty years.
I also want to pay tribute to Dean Mahoney and to the Wayne State University Law School. Patty and I have talked about it many times, but we don’t recall as students at Wayne, or even thinking about going to Wayne, that we thought about the fact that we were female. We just applied and expected Wayne to accept us. And Wayne, in my own view, always seemed to accept and encourage everyone. Patty and I went to law school on Cass Avenue, and most of our classes were in what we referred to as the horse stable. (I guess politely you would have said the Carriage House.) I graduated in 1951 and practiced law with my dad and my brother for an extended period of time. I decided finally as a mother that I had to get a job and be more orderly in my life. So, having been active somewhat politically, I applied for a position at the U.S. Attorney’s office. With the graciousness of Mr. Gubow, and with some support from political friends, I was appointed in 1963 to the position of assistant United States attorney. I had worked for all those years with men, with my dad and with Wade McCree and Hobart Pare and some other folks that you probably know, and it’s interesting when I reflect upon it that I never talked about my home or my children. You just didn’t take up subjects like that in the company of men. When I went to the U.S. Attorney’s office, it was about the same. But one day, I went downstairs to file something or other with Judge Thaddeus McCorbidge, and who appeared but this cute girl. I could tell that she was a lawyer because she had on a brand new sort of rose-colored suit with a perfect white shirt and her hair was perfectly coifed. I knew that was the way all females started out when they practiced law. So we talked to each other, and I got kind of a thumbnail sketch of her life: when she had graduated, how she came to clerk with Judge McCorbidge, whose clerk was involved in an automobile accident.
Soon after that we began to hear rumors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office that Patty, who was working for Judge McCorbidge, had babysat for Larry Gubow’s children, and that she was such a favorite of Estelle and Larry Gubow that she was going to be an assistant U.S. Attorney. When Patty came upstairs it was almost as if I had found a long lost friend. Now do you think that we started talking about the law? No. We started talking about cooking, children, Ernie and Ms. Odum, the ladies upon whom we depended to take care of our children so that we could come to work every day. They always came, but there was always the possibility that they might not come.
Patty and I served together, and I think it was really very meaningful to both of us. I don’t think that we ever understood how much we missed being in the company of women friends. The guys were fine, but you always need a girlfriend. So I stayed in the U.S. Attorney’s office until 1964, when I left and went to the office of the Corporation Counsel for the city of Detroit. While I was at the U.S. Attorney’s office we always prized Paul Conavus, and I’m sure some of you know Judge Conavus. If you wanted an answer to a question all you had to do was call him on the telephone, he could give you the case, the page, the date, everything. Well, Patty came along and she duplicated that feat. That friendship continued when I went to the Corporation Counsel’s office. Patty and I used to go up Woodward Avenue and meet for lunch. When we came back, she would keep on going across Woodward at State Street, and I would keep on going down to the City-County Building.
In 1966 I decided that I was going to run for the Recorder’s Court. Patty was one of the key persons on my committee, and interestingly enough we didn’t even discuss the fact that I was a female. It never occurred to either one of us. Patty helped me a whole lot, and I was elected to Recorder’s Court.
After that time Patty and I kept on talking. She was still in the U.S. Attorney’s office, and one day along came a handsome young assistant prosecutor and he took charge of everything. And everyone in the courtroom knew that he was in charge. He was brilliant and his mind was so stimulating that everyone sat up and took notice. I said to Patty I think I found your match. Patty wasn’t too interested in what I was talking about, but I kept saying it to her, and one day about in 1969 she told me that she was contemplating coming to the prosecuting attorney’s office. I encouraged her mightily and I kept telling her: this person, this person has this mind, you’re really going to enjoy talking and arguing with this person. Patty still didn’t pay too much attention to me, but at least I got his name in. It was Terrance Boyle, as I’m sure all of you have guessed. Patty came over to Recorder’s Court, and I don’t think she was as impressed as I was, but I think after much talking Patty became as impressed and probably even more than I was, and I guess, as they say, the rest is history.
Patty was outstanding as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County. Her admirers were legion when she was appointed by Governor Blanchard to the bench of the Recorder’s Court. She was always at the top of the list in terms of the lawyers’ evaluation. It is very important to say, and I say this from a personal standpoint and from a professional standpoint, Justice Boyle’s courageous ideas and lofty ideals have changed the law in the state of Michigan. Her success as a whole human being, committed to her family and the community that she has so ably served stands as an inspiration to all of us. In closing I would borrow from Abraham Lincoln and say of Justice Patricia Boyle, I like to see a woman proud of the place in which she lives. I like to see a woman live so that her place is proud of her.
WALLACE D. RILEY: Thank you Judge Ford. It is now my pleasure to call on Timothy Baughman to say a few words on behalf of Justice Boyle.
TIMOTHY BAUGHMAN: May it please the Court. It is truly an honor and privilege for me to be here and have the chance to say a few words because Justice Boyle was my first supervisor when I began in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office over twenty-six years ago, and now I occupy and sit at her desk—and I mean that literally. Wayne County is not too keen on capital expenditures, so it’s really the same desk.
Chief Justice Corrigan and I began together working for Justice Boyle in the appellate department of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office. I like to tell people that this demonstrates that with some hard work and dedication at least one of us became something of a success in the profession and the other became a judge. There are many people here that I’ve worked before and appeared before whose professional and personal lives have led to close associations: Justice Boyle, Judge Ryan, Judge Borman, Judge Geraldine Ford, and many others, and, of course, the current Court, many if not all of its members.
It’s always nice to appear before the current Court, and especially so today. The last time I appeared before the Court it turned out I was, how should I put it, under-persuasive, and today it’s good to be here when it’s not possible for me to lose because there can be no argument about the merits of the remarks I’m going to make. I’m just going to spend a few moments talking about the Wayne County Prosecutor years of Justice Boyle, at least as I know them.
When I started with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office, I knew no one and no one knew me. In fact I didn’t know any lawyers. I had had no clerkships, no internships. It was my first job other than working in factories in the summers. I had no idea what to expect, and I can tell you, and there are people here who can vouch for this, that the sense of excitement and mission was palpable in the office. It prevailed in everything that was done, and the mission that we were about was to seek the truth in all things. Three people were responsible for this excitement and sense of mission, and two of them are here today. The first was William L. Cahalan. He had the vision to create a prosecutor’s office for the 20th century. As part of that vision, he hired brilliant and energetic department heads and engaged them in helping him instruct the office, in hiring attorneys, setting policy, and the like. He turned them loose, gave them their heads to do that which they were good at. As an aside, to show the kind of atmosphere that was there, within six months of my arrival at the office I found myself on a plane for the first time in my life, flying to Washington, D.C., with a group of prosecuting attorneys from my office to watch Tom Khalil argue Michigan v Mosley,1 in the United States Supreme Court, the first argument ever from our office in that Court. That it was Tom who was arguing, rather than Prosecutor Cahalan or Terry or Pat says a lot about those individuals and what they believed in. It’s a tradition that has carried forward in our office to this day. Just imagine, if you will, a prosecutor’s office with Patricia Boyle as head of appeals, Terry Boyle as head of the trials, and attorneys such as Maura Corrigan, Kim Kenney, Tom Khalil, Andrea Solak, and many others at the beginning of their legal careers. I didn’t have to imagine it, I lived through it, and it was a very exciting time.
While we’re here to honor Justice Boyle, it is necessary for me, when I talk about the Wayne County years, to also talk about Terry Boyle. Both the accomplishments at our office and its development as a great prosecutor’s office were the result of both of their efforts, generally working as a team. I want to take just a few moments to mention several of these accomplishments.
The development of the office of recruitment of the staff is one of the outstanding things that occurred with Pat and Terry. They worked to create the best prosecutor’s office possible, in part through staffing: by recruiting outstanding people, peaking interests with internships and clerkships, and ensuring that hiring was based on merit and not patronage by an examination and review process. I still remember my oral examination, which asked rigorous questions on criminal law, criminal procedure, and evidence. Pat and Terry were on the panel. I even remember some of the questions. I have endeavored to forget some of my answers or at least to improve upon them in the recollection.
Once an outstanding staff was on board, it was critical that that staff receive ongoing legal education. As we all know, the law changes almost minute by minute. So Pat and Terry ensured that there were regular memoranda circulated on important decisions, that in-house programs were conducted, that staff meetings were held, and that the office participated with the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan in the development of outstanding programs both by having staff attend and having members of the staff including Pat and Terry as faculty.
Pat and Terry also ensured that the prosecutor’s office was treated as a separate but equal partner in the criminal justice system and that cases were litigated on the merits. For example, reference should be made to the James Del Rio episode and the courageous part Pat and Terry played in resisting Judge Del Rio’s attempts to bully and intimidate them and Prosecutor Cahalan. Those unfamiliar with the case might wish to take a look at the Michigan Supreme Court opinion regarding his removal.2 You will find what went on hard to believe, but it really happened, and Pat and Terry acted with courage and resolve in ending that cloudy episode in our history.
Of critical importance to our office was the role Pat and Terry played in developing the law both through litigation and through legislation. Preparation for our first Supreme Court argument, Michigan v Mosley, was intense. Four or five mock arguments were held at which giants of the field like Professor Bronner were recruited to play roles as justices and grill Tom Khalil. The result was that no question asked by a United States Supreme Court justice was unanticipated. That tradition has continued. We now have in-house mock arguments of our Michigan Supreme Court arguments as well.
Another of Pat and Terry’s accomplishments was the lead role they played in the creation of Michigan’s criminal sexual conduct laws, including the rape shield provisions, which became a model for every state in the country. Justice Boyle testified before legislative committees to ensure the passage of this legislation, and Terry was called by legislatures in other states to testify when they considered similar legislation—and did so with great effect.
I mentioned earlier that Tom set the spirit of our office and that Pat and Terry fostered that spirit and were critical to its existence. They fostered a spirit of camaraderie among the staff. Their doors were always open. You could come in and bounce ideas and problems off them. It was a wonderful advantage for us.
I could go on for a very long time and would love to do so, but there are others who wish to speak, so let me close just with this. I think it was Charles DeGaulle who said that the graveyards are filled with indispensable people, and by that he meant of course that no one is indispensable. And this is true. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office goes on, the Court goes on. It is sometimes also said that no one is irreplaceable, but this is demonstrably untrue. It’s a fact of life that people come and go, but, with a very few people, institutions, as well as individuals whose lives they touch, are the better for them having been there and the poorer for them having left. Pat and Terry were such people within the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, and they remain friends and mentors for many of us and will always be so. Thank you very much for your time today.
WALLACE D. RILEY: The name of our next speaker appears in two places on your program. He is a director of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society and he is also a judge of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Honorable James L. Ryan, who served from 1983 to 1986 with Justice Boyle.
HON. JAMES L. RYAN: Madam Chief Justice, associate justices, and most of all, Justice Boyle. In the Christian world, today is a holy day. It’s All Saints’ Day, and consequently it is a singularly fitting day for the canonization of my pal Patty Boyle. My assignment in today’s program is to provide a glimpse into that narrow window in time when Justice Boyle joined the Supreme Court and for the period thereafter when she and I served together. It is important to remember I think that what is done and said here today is preserved verbatim in the reports of the Michigan Supreme Court, and so what I have to say, although from the heart, is as much for posterity as it is for the edification of this large throng of friends of Patty’s and Terry’s. It wasn’t easy to get Patty Boyle to accept then-Governor James Blanchard’s appointment to this Court. There’s a myth abroad that in most instances when one is appointed by a Governor to serve us on the Michigan Supreme Court he or she rather reluctantly lays aside an often profitable private professional career or a very satisfying judicial service elsewhere and then, out of a sense of profound public duty, answers yes to the Governor’s summons. That truth in the vast majority of instances isn’t. The vast majority of instances of which I am familiar personally is that the Governor is besieged with petitions from a wide array of aspirants. This was decidedly not the situation in Governor Blanchard’s offer to persuade Patty Boyle to accept his appointment to the Supreme Court. She was an absolute all-star. An all-star candidate, a top level graduate of this great institution, editor of her law review, senior appellate attorney in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, as Tim has described, had a record of distinguished service as a Recorder’s Court trial judge, and was at the time completing about five years of service as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Newly elected Governor Blanchard was anxious, I think, to make an impressive and distinguished first appointment to the Court. He did not have to do much casting about to recognize that one of the most distinguished, experienced, capable lawyer-judges in the state, who not unimportantly was a woman, was federal judge Patricia Boyle. Unfortunately she was serving a lifetime appointment in federal court. Why, the political prognosticators ruminated, would she give up the prestige and security of a lifetime appointment as a federal judge for an appointment to the state Supreme Court that would require, within three years in her case, the burden of raising about a quarter of a million dollars for successive statewide political campaigns, further fundraising for her reelection, and retention on the Court eight years later, and if she were successful would only culminate in her forced departure from the Court at age 70 on a pension that is dwarfed by what federal judges are paid when they retire. Well the formidability of the challenge facing Governor Blanchard to persuade Patty to accept this appointment was not lost on him. He did not get to be Governor because he was shy or reticent. Not only did he approach Justice Boyle directly and ask her to accept his appointment, recognizing that she had a great deal to give up he also enlisted the participation of a fairly substantial number of other persons: to give you an indication of just how devoted Governor Blanchard was to this mission, he even asked me of all people, a sitting justice previously appointed by Governor Milliken.
After giving that matter careful consideration I decided to try to help. I had two reasons. One of them was I knew what an extraordinarily well-qualified lawyer and experienced judge Judge Boyle was, how gifted she was intellectually and temperamentally, and, I felt sure, collegially. Second, at this time there was only one sitting justice on the Court with any extensive general trial court experience, and I thought that the Court would only be strengthened by the appointment of a skilled and highly respected trial judge. I encouraged her to accept the appointment because I knew how good she was and how good I thought she would be for the Court. Patty accepted Governor Blanchard’s appointment, and frankly I do not delude myself that my pitch had much to do with it.
Patty Boyle’s resignation from her lifetime appointment to the federal court for the privilege of serving the Michigan Supreme Court with all the political shortcomings that would entail was as close as I can recall to a person accepting a Governor’s plea to accept his appointment largely, if not entirely, out of a sense of duty. As it turned out, the people of Michigan and Michigan’s jurisprudence were the winners. In my view it is irrefutably true that a seven-member appellate court such as our Supreme Court is much like a chemical compound. The Court is after all a collegial body, and when one member of the Court departs and a new member arrives, the collegial chemistry of the Court is altered far more radically than one might think and a new judicial entity comes into existence. Collegial decision making is an art. It is not taught to lawyers and judges in law school; it is not learned in law firms; it is not the subject of study. A change in just one justice requires that the training and the discipline and the development of the art must begin anew.
Just before Patty’s arrival to our Court in April of 1983, the Court was in my judgment in a regrettable state of tension and turmoil. There had been a wholesale change of justices in a very short time. In addition, in response to its obligation to rule on a lawsuit presented to us, the Court, which had been bitterly divided as I recall, resolved on majority vote to oust one of its members. Justice Moody died tragically and suddenly the day after Thanksgiving in November of 1982. Within two weeks then-Governor Milliken, who was finishing out his last days in office, appointed the distinguished Justice Dorothy Comstock Riley of the Court of Appeals. Within two weeks, Justice Mary Coleman startled us at conference by telling us that she was retiring. Within three days, departing Governor Milliken announced the appointment of the late Justice Jim Brickley to serve in what had been Justice Coleman’s seat. Less than ten days after that, Justice John Fitzgerald left the Court, having chosen not to run for reelection the previous November, and he was replaced by Justice Michael Cavanagh, who had been elected to take his seat the previous November.
If all that were not enough to upset the continuity and delicate art of collegial decision making in our Court and to nullify whatever practiced collegiality we had developed in the previous year, what occurred in the next forty days nearly devastated what collegiality had been left. A lawsuit had been filed challenging the incumbency of Justice Riley. The argument for the plaintiff was that Justice Riley’s appointment in December was good for just three weeks until January 1, not as Governor Milliken had thought until the next general election. The position taken by Justice Riley and many on her behalf was that her appointment survived the change in gubernatorial administrations and had not terminated. In early February, now just less than sixty days since the first of the departures occurred, with what I remember as a rather tumultuous and in some respects difficult dialogue and decision, the majority of the justices, speaking for the Court, declared Justice Riley’s service was at an end and that she must vacate her seat. This is history.3
It was in that tumultuous situation that Justice Boyle arrived in the Court in April of 1983 to succeed Justice Riley. It was a time of tension and turmoil. There were strained relationships among the justices and even some hard feelings. Justice Boyle would have been justified in thinking that she was walking into a very difficult situation. The fact is that from the first day of her service in the Court, Patty Boyle was an immensely calming and ameliorating influence. She came to us as a widely experienced lawyer with a profound understanding of the judicial process. She had a history of impressive scholarship, enormous personal industry, and a personal style in the decisional process that was admirable, and, I must say, in due course, contagious. It became immediately apparent that she brought no agenda, no political commitments, no unpaid debts, no obligation to any individual institution or ideology. It was obvious to me from the very beginning that she had no determination to push the Court to an ideological left through the center or any place else. Her commitment with respect to the cases was just to get it right. She was from day one a lawyer’s judge. Her work was always painstaking and thoughtful and always thoroughly researched, and temperately argued in conference, and temperately written. Her opinions over the course of her sixteen years enthralled and disappointed conservatives and liberals alike. What greater tribute can there be to a justice of the Supreme Court?
Patty and I did not always agree. Indeed, we fairly often disagreed. It was often troubling to me that she was a greater master of the art of gentle collegial decision making than I was. And when at conference the discussion became spirited and my own Irish genes began to generate more heat than light, I would benefit immediately from the calm and calming tone of Patty Boyle’s voice, her measured and lucid style of argument, and, I must confess, too often the force of her logic. These are among the most important gifts in the art of collegial decision making.
I close now, recalling a small, but to me significant, indicator of the gentleness and graciousness of this powerful lawyer and judge. An incident which I think is a window, albeit small, to her extraordinarily admirable character. Before leaving the Court it had fallen to me to write an opinion on a relatively complex and difficult issue of evidence. In the years following the release of that opinion, a number of panels of the Michigan Court of Appeals, certainly not all, had applied the rule in my opinion, I thought, far too broadly, and several panels claimed for it implications that in my view were unwarranted and unjustified. The result I think was a growing body of law from our intermediate appellate court and from trial courts that was a bit off the mark. In due course after I had left the Court, Justice Patty Boyle wrote an opinion for the Court that undertook to correct the misreading of my old opinion by some of the lower court panels, but she went much farther than that. She overruled with most exquisite and eloquent language some of the stuff I thought was really good. Well, I was gone from the Court by then and engaged in a new phase of my professional life, but I love this Court, I think you know that, and I read its opinions regularly. And when I read the Justice Boyle opinion overruling my contribution of a few years earlier the heat started rising until I got to footnote 29. And footnote 29, in an utterly unnecessary, but uncommonly gracious gesture, Patty Boyle mentioned me by name and made a brief but very generous observation about the worth of what I had written when I had written it. Justice Boyle enhanced the strengthened stature of the Supreme Court by coming and, of necessity, diminished it a bit by her going. Good luck Patty, Godspeed.
WALLACE D. RILEY: Thank you Judge Ryan. Now I have the privilege of calling on the Honorable Robert P. Griffin who served for nine years to give you the rest of the story.
JUSTICE ROBERT P. GRIFFIN: Chief Justice Corrigan, justices of the Court, ladies and gentlemen. It will always be an honor, a high honor, to participate in a proceeding before this great Court; and it is especially so when you find yourself on the other side of the bench. It is most appropriate, I suggest, that this session of the Court is being held in the Wayne State University Law School as we honor one of its most distinguished graduates—a lawyer who grew in stature to become a giant in the legal profession and in the judiciary. Somehow, it seems fitting that I should say a few words on this occasion. After all, I bear a rather unusual distinction. I once ran against Patty Boyle for a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court and lost. G. Mennen Williams and Frank Kelley were very formidable as opponents, to say the least. But, then, there was Patty Boyle.
At first blush, in 1984, it seemed that the Republican State Convention was bestowing some kind of great honor when I was nominated as one of the candidates to contest for two seats that were then at stake on the Michigan Supreme Court. However, the bad fortune came when I managed to draw the slot that placed me in opposition to Patty Boyle on the ballot. In many respects, the campaign that followed was hardly typical. Talk about civility, I couldn’t find a thing bad to say about her, and she never uttered an unkind word about me. However, I did begin to sense some trouble in my campaign when the Republican prosecuting attorney in my home county of Grand Traverse publicly announced in the local newspaper his support for my opponent. As you might imagine, I made a beeline to that prosecutor’s office, and I did some vigorous pounding on his desk. The response that I received went something like this: “Well, Bob, I’m sure you could become a good judge some day. But you really have no business running against Patty Boyle.” Of course, I learned later, after serving with Patty Boyle on the Court, that he was absolutely right. Indeed, with the advantage of hindsight, I can say now I’m really glad to have lost that election. The result was good for the Court, and it was good for me.
My opportunity to serve on this Court did come two years later when, along with Dennis Archer, I was elected to an eight-year term. During that span of time, I was privileged to work closely with Justice Boyle and our five colleagues on a Court that, I am happy to say, was very collegial.
Oh, there were plenty of differences and arguments in those closed conferences that followed oral argument when we had to vote and decide each case. The most interesting and longest debates, however, were waged, not between Republicans and Democrats, but between Justice Boyle and her favorite sparring partner, Justice Charles Levin. A number of the cases we tackled in those days attracted the spotlight of wide public attention. To mention just a few, there was that struggle between would-be parents in Michigan and would-be parents in Iowa over the custody of Baby Jessica.4 We also had to confront serious legal problems raised by Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his advocacy of assisted suicide.5 And when the Legislature failed to meet its constitutional redistricting obligation following the 1990 census, the responsibility fell upon our shoulders. We worked hard and long, with a minimum of partisanship, until we fashioned a redistricting plan that won the unanimous vote of our Court.6 Throughout those eight years of my service on the Court, it was apparent that Justice Boyle’s colleagues looked to her for guidance and wisdom when we confronted the difficult and most challenging issues. We knew Patty not only as a scholar with a wealth of learning and experience, but also as a dedicated, tireless student of every case and every issue. Steeped in love of the Court and equipped with a keen fertile mind, Patty wrote opinions that earned universal respect and acclaim—not only of her colleagues on the Court, but also of the bar at large. By reason of the example she left as a jurist, and through the wisdom and logic of her opinions in the Michigan Reports, Patty Boyle continues in retirement to be a great teacher of the law she loves so much.
As in the case of the Big Four whose contributions are legendary, the portrait of Justice Patricia Boyle presented to the Court today will serve as a constant reminder that she, too, has been a moving force in the rich history of Michigan’s jurisprudence.
In closing, I know of only a single regret that lingers in the wake of the remarkable career of Justice Patricia Boyle. It is the nation’s great loss that she was not elevated to serve also on the United States Supreme Court. Thank you very much.
WALLACE D. RILEY: Thank you Bob.
What would a judge or justice be without law clerks? So it is only fitting that we should call on a former law clerk for Justice Boyle to give her view of the judge, Mary Massaron Ross.
MARY MASSARON ROSS: May it please the Court, Chief Justice Corrigan, it is a pleasure to be here today to honor Justice Boyle and to share with you a few thoughts about her contributions to the Michigan Supreme Court.
Working with her was enormously rewarding. We, her law clerks, learned from her tremendous intelligence, her prodigious scholarship, her willingness to follow the rule of law. We experienced her personal warmth and enjoyed her inner sense of humor. Some of these attributes are readily apparent in her written opinions; others can be seen more completely in her conduct off the bench. Without telling too many secrets, let me share with you some thoughts and memories about Justice Boyle. The lawyers here today are undoubtedly familiar with the opinions that she authored, but I thought you might find it interesting to hear a little about the process of her decision making in writing.
Of course it began with oral arguments. The clerk who had prepared for the day’s cases drove her to Lansing. Justice Boyle sat in the back seat, which was piled high with briefs, copies of the most significant cases, law reviews, the appendix, and other materials that she wanted to reread before oral argument. She did not want a radio or any chatter to distract from her final preparation. Occasionally she asked questions about the parties’ positions and the implications flowing from some argument, but for the most part the car was silent as she studied the papers scattered all about the back seat. She did look up, I am told, one wintry day when Justice Mallett was standing next to his car, which was buried off to the side of the road in a snow bank after his clerk had driven into a ditch.
At oral argument Justice Boyle’s questions focused on the nuances of the argument. She sought to clarify the advocate’s position, to understand the rule the advocate urged the Court to adopt, and the rationale the Court should employ to reach the rule. She was courteous and low key in her demeanor. Occasionally she would throw an easy question to an advocate who had become flustered by a series of difficult questions so the advocate could regroup and return to his or her argument. After oral argument in the Court’s conference, she liked to discuss the advocate’s presentation, the outcome at conference, and the opinion writing to follow.
Back in her chambers, her office staff would give the law clerk notes she had scrawled on the pages of the briefs during oral argument. Big black letters going across the page and down the sides, sometimes one letter to a line, they twisted and turned around the paper. Unscrambling them was difficult. Her longtime staff members, Marjorie Baird and Mae Doss, could usually decipher her directions for further research into the record or the law. For her law clerks, these questions meant hours of research, often far beyond the lines of authorities discussed in the parties’ briefs.
Justice Boyle is and was known for her tremendous scholarship, so when summoned to her office we clerks often found her surrounded again by copies of cases, briefs, law reviews, and law books, completely covering her desk and spilling onto the floor in piles all over the place. She loved the intellectual rigor required to defend her views and enjoyed the interchange with her colleagues enormously. Drafts of opinions would fly back and forth between the justices’ chambers as each side tried to strengthen the articulation of their view of the case and perhaps persuading enough justices to win a majority. Justice Boyle wanted her writing to hold up against the challenge that could be anticipated in any dissenting opinion, and she revised her work until she felt confident that it was as strong as it could be. She was competitive enough to particularly enjoy those occasions when she could turn a dissent into a majority.
Always she retained her humor and humility in the process. Once when we were revising a draft majority opinion to respond to a dissent authored by Justice Levin, she looked at a statue of a wizard sitting on her desk holding a crystal ball and she said, “This reminds me of Justice Levin searching for legislative history.” Lest you should say she did not recognize and appreciate Justice Levin’s contributions to the Court, let me share with you a remark she made recently when accepting an award from the appellate practice section of the state bar. She said then that Justice Levin had taught her that language is always contextual.
Justice Boyle agreed with those who believed that the judiciary must defer to the determinate legislative text, but she acknowledged that such a text could be and often was ambiguous. In one decision she said, “Mindful of Cardozo’s admonition that we are not knights errant roaming at will in pursuit of our own ideal of truth and goodness, we refrain from attempting to redefine the statutory obligations at issue.” At the same time, she explained that the Court had done everything possible from a judicial perspective to define a path by which employers and employees could in good faith navigate two complex and different sets of statutory obligations. In another decision, after honestly acknowledging a gap in the text, she observed that language, the probable purpose, the historical context in which the legislation was enacted, and current policy all could be considered when analyzing the proper outcome.
Justice Boyle spoke candidly in her opinions about countervailing concerns, recognizing the force of the opposing arguments. Her candor came from respect for those who disagreed with her and from her belief that the decision should lay bare the reasoning tht led her to a particular result. She saw this as an important tool for bench and bar alike. She also saw it as a critical restraint upon the judiciary. If the decision were not right, she took this as a warning that perhaps the result was wrong and should be reconsidered. Occasionally she would write the decision both ways to test the reasoning and be certain that she was reaching the correct result. She recognized the importance that the process played in honing decisions, her own and those of the rest of the bench. Socrates said that a judge should hear courteously, consider seriously, decide impartially. That sums up Justice Boyle’s attributes as a Supreme Court justice. She once said that, while we may not discover eternal truth, it’s possible to touch its form from time to fleeting time.
She spoke about the need not to shirk from the difficult labor of close analysis and to produce a result that, when the day is done, makes so much sense that we have the courage of conviction to announce it on the courthouse steps. Her work on the Court was an effort to abide by this. Justice Boyle recognized the difficulties of the search for truth and the possibility of error, but in each and every decision she issued she sought to come as close as humanly possible to that truth. We, her law clerks, were privileged to help in the process.
MR. RILEY: Let me now, without further delay, present to you the Honorable Terrance Boyle.
JUDGE BOYLE: Madam Chief Justice, associate members of the Court, may it please the Court. My role today is to attempt to give insight into the personal side of Patricia Jean Earhart Pernick Boyle. What you see is what you get. The focus was on the absence of artifice, the absence of deceit, the absence of ill will, the presence of fundamental human decency. All this applies to Pat. But does it capture her? And the answer is unequivocally no. It is true of Pat, but it presents an incomplete picture. It fails to reveal mostly her complexity. After 31 1/2 years of marriage I still discover new things about her, literally I’d like to say daily, but that would be a lie–but monthly, and that’s because she continues to grow. Actually one time in desperation I said to her in our living room, you know you’re the person who has changed a bit. And she said, “Unfortunately you’re right.”
This is a woman who has had, in my view, a transformational affect on Michigan criminal jurisprudence, not to speak of jurisprudence in general, and not only as a judge, but as a prosecutor. Both things were mentioned, mostly by Tim Baughman, in terms of the contributions that were made. You also have to understand, to be able to accomplish that requires traits like tenacity and competitiveness. And believe me she has those inside her. It also overlooks what I know to be a thoroughly wicked sense of humor. Let me give you two examples of that.
Rick Coretti is a young lawyer at Dickinson Wright. On his first appearance before Pat while Pat was on the federal bench he came into court with a ganglion of lawyers and client. I had known Rick when he was a Detroit police officer, and Pat had met Rick before on the softball field where she had seen him exclusively in cutoffs and T-shirts. She looked from the bench in federal court, saw Rick in his blue pinstripe suit and exclaimed immediately, “How nice to see you Mr. Coretti, at first I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.” Now you might think she made a mistake. She didn’t, and she left Rick to explain especially to opposing lawyers what that remark meant.
There was a case of a lawyer who was earnestly arguing before the Michigan Supreme Court when she was on that bench. It was a case of repressed memory, and the trial judge had dismissed the case on statute of limitations grounds. The lawyer was trying to convince the Court that in conference honestly new personalities would appear of which his client was unaware. Pat immediately asked from the bench, “Do you represent all of them?” There is in Pat not only a sense of humor, but a need to laugh. And when she’s having fun the laughter is deep and it’s throaty. She is informed by a spirit that says we’re all in this together, let’s make this turn out right. It is the spirit that informs her family life, her friendships, as well as her professional life. Most human beings who are successful as a public office holder, especially elected public officials, maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Pat turns that on her head. She absolutely will not allow herself ever to even think about how good she really is. Some would say that’s humility, a virtue. But if that trait holds you back for whatever reason from a position of greater public service, then that trait can be a vice.
President Carter was elected in 1976. John Romero who is here today and I conspired to find a way of getting Pat on the federal bench. For a period of time she refused to even consider it because she deemed herself unworthy. I prepared the application myself, got all the opinions, did the research, prepared the whole thing, and only under the most intense coercion did she sign it on the midafternoon of the final deadline. In Pat there is a reservoir of personal courage so deep its bottom cannot be found. Yet I’ve seldom known anyone in life more risk adverse than Pat.
When Pat came to the Supreme Court, we did what we frequently do. We had a family meeting. We included in that family meeting Marjorie and Bo Baird who were our closest friends at that time. We went out to a restaurant, we ate, we talked about the whole thing, went back to the house and continued to talk, and I can still hear Jeff, our oldest son, saying, “Go for it Mom.” I was the only person in this meeting that was steadfastly opposed to it. And Pat knew that. I think the Governor knew that from our discussions with one another. I had a different dream for Pat–to see her on the United States Supreme Court. I regarded this as a backward step.
When everybody had left the house, Pat and I talked about it and analyzed it for another couple of hours, and I finally said at 3:00 o’clock in the morning it can’t be talked about anymore. She came over, sat down on my lap, put her arms around my neck and said, “I really want to do this. It is the opportunity to affect more lives in a better way.” So I looked at her and I said, “You’ve made your decision.” She said, “No. What will happen is I’ll give up my federal seat, Dorothy will run against me, she’ll beat me and I’ll be out of a job.” So I lifted her up off my lap, put her back in the chair, sat her down, and said, “One, I remain opposed to this move, but it’s your decision. Two, if you accept the appointment no one will beat you if we both have to go seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day for one full year. Third, if I’m wrong and you lose, you’ll find a job and I suspect you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank, and four, if I’m wrong about that there’s always welfare.”
I want to take time here to say a personal thank you to Justice Riley and Wally Riley and to anybody else who influenced that decision. Believe me she would have been horrible with Dorothy running against her. It was horrible enough with Bob running against her. It wasn’t that it made it an easy election, but the fact is that the ouster captured the public attention in Michigan, and Justice Riley found a way of capturing the news media for about two solid years before that campaign. I want to say thanks for the decision that was made. And Pat actually asked me in my remarks to mention that to both of you because it was the thing in her mind that was holding her back. But in the end, the personal courage took over and she decided to do something.
Now let me introduce our four grandchildren. Brian Pernick, Sarah Pernick, Nathan Pernick, and Riley Pernick. And if you’ll do the honors by unveiling the portrait for the Court…
[At which time, the portrait was unveiled.]
JUSTICE BOYLE: Chief Justice Corrigan and justices of the Court. The portrait is by an artist named Carl Owen who lives in Atlanta and whose work I first observed when he painted Judge Ford’s portrait on the occasion of her retirement. I liked it. I hoped that it would remind all of you who had argued before me of the times when you presented cases to me. I wanted to look perhaps nicer than I was to your arguments.
First I should thank the justices for their graciousness in agreeing to host this event here in Detroit at the law school from which I graduated. Judge Ford spoke of the importance of Wayne Law School to us, and it is certainly true that, without Wayne night school and without the financial assistance that the university gave me, I would never have become a lawyer. I am deeply grateful for my education and for the fact that being a lawyer, learning to think like a lawyer, is probably the single most transformative experience in my life. It gave me the first and greatest step toward what all of us hope for in life: the control of our destiny and the development of a sense of who we are and what we are about.
We could hardly have anticipated when the justices were asked if we could have the ceremony here in Detroit that the events of September 11 would cast their shadow over this gathering. And justices, your presence here today and the presence of each of you is our affirmative response to the President’s challenge to go on with the business of our lives. Your presence here is an example of leadership that we are deeply grateful for.
Justice Brennan was mentioned during the course of Wally’s remarks and Justice Brennan along with Justice Ryan are two of the most formidable speakers who have ever graced our Court. Justice Brennan once said that the Michigan Supreme Court is not a room or a building, it is people. Their story is our story. And of course that is the purpose of this presentation ceremony and all the ceremonies that the Michigan Historical Society sponsors. The society was Justice Riley’s idea, and she and Wally have nurtured that idea into the wonderful force that it is for continuity of the Court and its membership. I need also to thank Angela Bergman and all the members of the Historical Society board for this wonderful gathering.
Terry and I also extend our deepest thanks to Liz Hardy and Tom Kienbaum. It has been a theme of these remarks that lives intersect in the legal profession and in politics. I performed the wedding for Liz Hardy and Tom Kienbaum. Liz was Judge Griffin’s assistant, an intern in his office, when he was in the United States Senate, and I also performed the wedding of Maura Corrigan and Joseph Granno. Liz and Tom prodded us into this event when I was sick two years ago. I want to thank the Attorney General and Governor Blanchard and Janet Blanchard for being with us today, and I’m so grateful to so many members of the federal bench for joining me here. Avern Cohn and I were part of the same class going through the process of appointment by Senator Riegle. Of course Avern was older. And John Feikens was my dearest friend on the court–my dearest friend and the person to whom I went when Governor Blanchard made the offer to me to come to the Michigan Supreme Court. John, too, urged me not to leave.
And there is one in this room who not only urged me not to leave, but wrote a note, which I still treasure. I keep scrapbooks, and this is one of my favorite possessions. It is a note written by a distinguished practitioner, who will remain unidentified, saying that he had heard the rumor that I was thinking of leaving the federal court and that he knew that I could never do anything so dumb. He underestimated the persuasiveness of Governor Blanchard and Jim Ryan.
You’ve heard from Mary Massaron Ross and you’ve heard about Marjorie Baird and Mae Doss, the two women who were with me as friends and enormously able professional assistants. They kept me going through two elections and multiple crises, both personal and professional. And there is no better description of what they meant to me than to tell you that I couldn’t have done it without them. Nor could I have done the quality of work that I aspired to do without the remarkable assistance of the wonderful group of men and women who were my law clerks over the years. Thank you all for being here. I hope I didn’t do too much to upset your lives.
And I got lucky that Geraldine Ford and I were girlfriends, before they were making movies about things like that. Tim Baughman, of course, is the incarnation of the dream that Terry and I had for excellence in the prosecutor’s office, and Jim Ryan was a towering intellect who just inspired discussions that made me relish being on the Supreme Court after years of a kind of intellectual isolation on the federal court as one person making decisions. The opponent in an election I came to value as one of my most trusted and esteemed colleagues, Bob Griffin, and Michael Cavanagh, my best buddy on the Court. Terry and I are honored with the presentations that each of you have made.
Sitting justices like portrait presentations even when they run overlong, and my remarks will be brief, but these are great occasions. Investitures are fun too, they are victory parties in essence. But these are celebrations of the past that represent the completion of political life. And I always thought as I watched these portrait presentations from the justices’ position of the analogs in my own life to the lives of those who were being honored by their portrait being presented. I always thought of the political supporters who had brought me to the position where I was. I thought also, of course, and most importantly, of my family and my friends who have stood by me for so many years and who have helped me in every way and who continue to brighten all the days of my life. My father is with us today, and I’m so happy he could join us. He is 94. I’d like to thank also and honor all those with whom I served.
I began my service with Justice Mennen Williams and I served with Dennis Wayne Archer and Charles Levin, who kept my little gray self in a state of constant ferment. With Conrad Mallett, with Betty Weaver, with Cliff Taylor, with Marilyn Kelly, and also of course with Justices Ryan and Brickley and Riley, my comrade in arms, and Griffin and Cavanagh. What an array. Just think of the array of talent and experience, of ego and intelligence that that is. What a fascinating answer really to the question that was asked when I left federal court. Why would I give up a lifetime appointment as a federal court judge to become a state Supreme Court justice? And part of the answer, of course, was the company of these people. The chance to have an ongoing dialogue. The opportunity to perhaps persuade that effective law enforcement was compatible with fair treatment for accused defendants.
I do want to say about Jim Blanchard that I never could understand why being pro-law enforcement wasn’t a good position for a Democrat to take. Neither did Jim. He was the first Democratic office holder that I knew of who was pro-victim and pro-law enforcement and that’s of course why we were great supporters of his.
Well, at the conclusion of the process that could itself be several chapters in the annals of the Historical Society, and at the conclusion of this chapter in my life, I come to the point that I always told lawyers they would come to and needed to prepare for, and that is why that is the hardest question. In other words, every lawyer needs to be prepared to answer the hardest question that could be put by any justice, or any judge. You’re not prepared to argue a case until you have pursued an issue to that point. And so the hardest question for me as I thought about why I wanted to be a judge after John O’Mara and Julia Darlow had suggested that I might become a federal judge, I chanced upon these words the evening before my interview with Senator Don Riegle. They’re the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. And when the question was put to me by Don Riegle as I knew it would be, “Why do you want to be a federal judge,” I answered with Holmes’ words that a man or a woman must be involved in the action and passion of his times or stand in peril of being judged never to have lived at all. On the day that I stood before this Court to take the oath of office as a Michigan Supreme Court justice I asked the same question of myself. Why would I want to be a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. And the answer was, of course, Holmes’ answer.
Today I thank everyone in this room and so many more people for having given me the opportunity, the marvelous opportunity to be part of the action and passion of this time: someone who is a former colleague and for whom I have deep respect. I thank Mike Murray of our wonderful Commissioners’ Office, and they and their staff, and the State Court Administrator’s Office and their staff, and all the staff of the Court, who were so supportive and so helpful that no ceremony should ever be held without mentioning what invaluable contribution they made to my life.
The question that Mike suggested was how would you like to be remembered. I’ve read some newspaper articles that characterized me as a liberal on civil rights and workers’ rights, and I’m proud to claim that reputation, but in the end I hope I will be remembered for the following. I’d like to be remembered by my children and my husband as a pretty good mom and a pretty good wife. I’d like to be remembered by my grandchildren, including the new grandchild whom we are awaiting, whose name is going to be Carrie Patricia, I’d like to be remembered by my grandchildren as a little bit better than an average granny, and I’d like to be remembered by my colleagues on the Court as honest and guileless, even naive perhaps. I’d like to be remembered too as smart and tough. And I’d like to be remembered as funny because I love having fun. But most of all, I’d like to be remembered as someone who was a trial judge who never forgot that the criminal justice process must never forget about victims of crime. That’s why I came to the Court to try to have an influence on, and I think that I left some footprints in the sand because of the opportunity you gave me toward advancing that objective.
The poet Archibald McLeish said in words that are very appropriate to close this program. The one force in the world which can claim the revolutionary title, the one force which can claim to move in a direction of life is the force that Jefferson put into words: Later Americans it is true we have betrayed that force, both in terms and action, but the living seed remains. The seed remains and grows. It is this seed, this influence, this force of revolution which is the living thing in the republic. Without it the United States is so much land, so many people, such an accumulation of wealth. With it the United States is a stage upon the journey of mankind. How blessed we are to have been part of the journey.
It is appropriate, also I think, to close my part of the ceremony with the words we now use in our church in Milford to open every Sunday service, and with the words that are used to open every federal court in this land that we love. God Bless America. And God save this Honorable Court. Thank you.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you, Justice Boyle, for your beautiful remarks this afternoon, and thank you Judge Boyle. Thanks to the portrait artist who has prepared this most magnificent portrait of Patricia Boyle that we’ll add to the seventy-seven portraits in the Supreme Court’s collection and that will shortly hang in the courtroom of the Supreme Court. Justice Cavanagh is going to give some remarks shortly on behalf of the Court, but I take this moment to accept the portrait formally on behalf of the Court and at least to just say one or two words to you, Pat. Tim Baughman said he and I were babies when we joined the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and, truth be told, I still had acne, and Terry Boyle would come into my office and lecture me about how to be cured of acne. So that was a good long time ago.
It is All Saints’ Day as Justice Ryan said, and I thought this morning about St. Augustine’s prayer, “Late have I loved thee.” And I thought Patty about you that’s not so true because long have we loved you. You have had every attribute that St. Augustine might describe as a happy life, and the metaphysical virtues I think are appropriate to talk about you today–what you did on our Court and who you are, not just in the history of Michigan, but as a human being. You are a seeker of truth and a lover, and those things make you so worthy of who you’ve been to our Court and who you’ve been in Michigan history. And for all those things I thank you. There are only six women who have served on the Michigan Supreme Court. Three of them are sitting here. Two of you, Justice Riley and Patty, are in the audience, and Justice Coleman isn’t here today, but now all six of us will b in the courtroom, and every day we’ll be able to look at your beautiful portrait and Justice Riley’s and Mary Coleman’s and have mercy on those poor lawyers. I read today before I came to this ceremony, of your swearing in, and I do know that the spirit of G. Mennen Williams is in this Court as he presided, and shall I say on behalf of our Court, from an unbroken line of Chief Justices, of our great respect and love for you and how grateful we are that you served with us. Thank you so mcuh.
At this time I would like to call on my colleague, Michael Cavanagh, to accept officially on behalf of the Court and to commemorate his term of service with you Justice Boyle.
JUSTICE CAVANAGH: Thank you Chief Justice. This is really a great day. We’re here to honor a great justice. I have to note it was good to see our old colleague and Patty’s sparring partner Chuck Levin arrive. Nothing changes. Fashionably late.
A long time ago the Roman statesman Cicero said, “We are in bondage to the law in order that we may be free.” Now when Cicero spoke of bondage, surely he was referring to the obligations that the law places on us as citizens. We all must obey the law. As judges, though, the law holds us in a different sort of bondage. Not only must our decisions comport with the law, but we must give our lives to the law. Being a judge, I suggest, is an all or nothing proposition. The best judges give it everything they have. They love their families, but the law wrings them dry. And so we come to the great justice whom we are honoring today. This is a woman who finished first in her class at this law school while raising young children. This is a woman who was instrumental in converting an ancient unwieldy body of rape law into the new and effective criminal sexual conduct statute that, as Tim Baughman had mentioned, has been a model for reform throughout the nation. This is a woman who, after only two years on the Recorder’s Court, was voted by the lawyers practicing in that court, both prosecutors and defense, as number one in knowledge of the law, number one in work habits, number one in courtesy, and number one overall. This is a woman who found herself already enshrined in the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame barely halfway through her professional career. This is excellence.
But Patty yours wasn’t the excellence of a solo flight. You brought the rest of us along with you. At one time or another, we have all seen persons whose accomplishments separate them from others. They really are alone. It was never that way with you. The whole Court got better when you came. And having served throughout your time on the Court, I can testify to your skills and diligence that allowed, in fact really compelled, the rest of us to try and keep up. Of course there were those Tupperware times when we couldn’t keep up because we weren’t around. Now for those of you not privy to that little inside information, there’s a story to that reference.
When Patty was first on the Court and our Court was holding its Detroit meetings in the Lafayette Building in an office located directly across the hall from Patty’s own office, she had circulated her very first majority opinion, which after several revisions she believed was due to be signed up at that day’s conference. The agenda for the conference was nearing completion when we reached her opinion and she was elated when, after a very brief discussion, the justices indicated they were ready to agree with her if she would just make a few very minor changes. She hurried across the hall to her office, had her secretary make the changes, and returned to the conference room. She was astounded to find that the room was empty, save for the presence of one rather embarassed staff person who had obviously been left behind to advise her that the justices had left for the day because they had a prior commitment. When she pressed for details he broke down, confessed, knowing she hadn’t been invited, that the men had left to play golf. She went right back to her office and, before she could think too much, dictated a formal memo to each justice which read as follows: On today’s date you unfortunately had to leave conference early because of a prior commitment. I think it only fair to advise you that at the next week’s conference I similarly will have to leave early as I am attending a Tupperware party at Mary Coleman’s house. My staff still remembers that memo.
For sixteen years you brought your best to the conference table every single week. It was a pleasure to be on the same side of the case as you were, and for those who really enjoy a challenge it could almost be a pleasure to be on the opposite side. Your excellence kept us all engaged and at our best. That’s why Judge Feikens, having lost you as a federal judge, came to see you take the oath of office as a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. And that is why he stood that day to tell us, “I know that our court is diminished.” He wasn’t telling us that your departure had left him one judge short. He was telling us what we soon would learn for ourselves. Your presence makes the whole court better and has made this state a better place. The CSC law alone would be the accomplishment of a lifetime for most lawyers, but for you it was only the beginning. No serious student of the law can doubt the enormous impact of your presence on this Court.
Now I had gone back to the minutes and dug out your investiture, to which you have already alluded, to that quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes that you asked just be updated to change the gender where Holmes said a man must involve himself in the life and passion of his times or stand in peril of being judged never to have lived at all. You told us that day you wanted to be such a woman, a woman involved in the life and passion of her times, and you were.
You said you hoped to do so to the satisfaction of this Court and the people of Michigan, and you did. Your sixteen years on this Court have led to a well-deserved retirement with Terry and with your children and grandchildren, but don’t forget what you told the Free Press eighteen years ago. You’re quoted as saying, “My career is a perfect lesson in why you shouldn’t plan ahead.” So don’t get too comfortable. Whether writing or teaching or appearing as counsel or seving as mentor, your presence will continue to elevate all those who come in contact with you. You carry a contagious strain of excellence, and we are all the better for it. Your talents are immense, your warmth and joy always a support. We will hang this portrait, surely, in a decent place of honor. God bless you.
MR. RILEY: Before we adjourn, I call on Reverend John Harris to give us the benediction.
REV. HARRIS: Let me explain to your august gathering of friends and the Supreme Court of Michigan that each Sunday morning we begin by singing God Bless America, and you invited me to come to this wonderful presentation and suggested to me that I conclude this with a benediction that I recite every Sunday morning at the conclusion of our service. These words are the oldest written words from the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew translates into English, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine down upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord shine the light of his countenance upon you and give you his peace, amen.”
CHIEF JUSTICE CORRIGAN: Thank you Reverend Harris. Thank you everyone for coming together for this wondeful special session of our Court. This Court now stands adjourned.