JANUARY 3, 1977
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: This is a Special Session of the Court and our purpose is to welcome a new Justice to membership on the Court, BLAIR MOODY, JR. It is not a judicial proceeding and the usual rules of procedure do not apply. You may take pictures and you may applaud, if the spirit moves you, and what I hope all of you will do is join all of us to make this a warm and memorable occasion. In that connection, I wish to thank the many distinguished guests who are here for adding special significance to these proceedings by your presence. I will not attempt to name all of the distinguished visitors. I think we certainly should note that Governor Milliken is here. Governor Milliken, will you let everybody see you by rising and acknowledging.
I see Speaker Crim in the audience. Our Secretary of State Dick Austin is here. Our Attorney General Frank Kelley. I see Jackie Vaughn, and I think I’m going to get in trouble if I don’t introduce all the other members of the Legislature who are here.
We have our distinguished brother from the Federal bench, Judge Wade McCree. Doris, I really should have introduced you, so Doris McCree, stand up please, if you will.
I’m sure I’m in deep trouble now because I’ve undoubtedly missed many distinguished people. I see the President of the Detroit Bar, Tony Buesser, back there.
JUSTICE COLEMAN: Paul Adams is here.
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: Oh, our distinguished former colleague PAUL ADAMS. Where is Justice ADAMS? And Ruth, you’ve got to stand up too. Ruth Adams.
I do want to apologize to any that I have missed, because this is a great day. A great occasion for all of us.
Most of you, I’m sure realize that this is primarily BLAIR MOODY’ S day. Because this, for the first time, is the day on which BLAIR MOODY will take his oath of office as a member of this Court. We know from our experience what a great day that is in the life of any one of us. So, in a very real sense, this is Blair’s day.
Now I’m going to ask Justice WILLIAMS to take over, if you will, Justice WILLIAMS.
JUSTICE WILLIAMS: Thank you very much. May it please the Court. In a few moments I will have the honor and the pleasure of swearing in our new brother. But, before I do that, I would like to take the occasion to say how happy I am to have been chosen by him to perform this office. And I understand that the reason for the choice was that I swore in his father when he went to the United States Senate. I just want to tell the Moodys that if any of their sons or daughters wish to be sworn in to any similar office, God willing, I’ll be ready and happy to do so.
So now, Blair, if you’ll come forward to take the oath, I’ll be delighted to administer it to you.
I do solemnly swear that I will uphold the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Michigan, and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of the office of Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court to the best of my ability, so help me God.
JUSTICE BLAIR MOODY, JR.: I do solemnly swear that I will uphold the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Michigan, and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of the office of Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court to the best of my ability, so help me God.
JUSTICE WILLIAMS: Congratulations.
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: Now I understand that lovely Mary Lou is going to assist her handsome husband in donning his robes. So, if you will, Mrs. Moody.
Now, Blair, you can say anything that’s on your mind.
JUSTICE BLAIR MOODY, JR.: May it please the Court, Mr. Chief Justice, my colleagues and friends, Governor Milliken and the state legislative leaders and community leaders, and my many friends. At the outset I do wish to take this privilege to once again have my wife and children stand. You’ve seen them just momentarily here. I will name off the children, and in this order if they would stand for a moment. First, my daughter Diane who is a senior at Michigan State. My son Blair who is a freshman at Western Michigan. My daughter Susan who is a junior in high school. My son Brian who is a sophomore in high school. And my son Peter who is a senior at Ferry Elementary School.
I could not also pass this day without mentioning also some of the members of my family that are here. Jack and Joy Kennedy and their son Kim, would you kindly stand. And Lucille and Charles Hammond. Jack is my wife’s brother and Lucy, obviously, is her sister. I married into the Kennedy clan and it’s a great clan here in Michigan as elsewhere, as you know.
Also, I have here today my two brothers. Some of you may recall many years ago seeing them on the front of Life magazine. They have changed somewhat, but I would like to, once again, introduce to you, my brothers Christopher and Robin. Will they please stand.
I wish to thank Justice WILLIAMS for his kind words and, in particular, again to thank the Governor for coming and sharing this time with us and the other leaders of our state taking time. It is certainly an honor to have you here. And, of course, my many friends who have weathered the months and the miles to share this occasion. I’m most grateful.
I wish thank the people of Michigan for trusting me. This is a new year and in a way it is a new beginning for us all. It is the commencement of the third century of the life of our nation and we take stock of what has been and look forward with yearning eyes to see where we are heading. Oliver Wendell Holmes said:
“The one great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” And we are all here together as a family for such a short time. The direction we head is up to each of us. We set the standards of our lives. And I believe one person can make a difference. But the quality of our lives, the security of our neighborhoods and the educational and job opportunities of our communities, as well as the stability of our state, is all the product of our joint, individual efforts. I believe we can provide freedom to walk with safety down the block, to eradicate ancient prejudice, to open opportunities, to achieve individual dreams and to gain prompt, equal justice under law. We have a way to go in this journey and I welcome the challenge and opportunity to join my brothers and sister to be a humble navigator in this endeavor.
The position of Justice of the Supreme Court belongs to the people. It is now only loaned to me. I shall try to use it with great care, for I have the duty, someday, to pass it on in the best condition possible. And, in the meantime, I shall do my best and never forget the words of Harvard: “The greatest glory of a freeborn people is to transmit that freedom to their children.” May the hills lie flat before you and the wind be at your backs.
Thank you very much.
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: Thank you, Justice Moody. If you and Justice Williams will now take your places on the bench.
CRIER: All rise.
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: Now, this is kind of a triple header today because Justice James Ryan and I would like to renew our oath of office also. So I think in the interest of saving time, we will administer the oath to each other. Jim, if you’ll join me down here we’ll do it that way.
CRIER: All rise.
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: Jim, if you will raise your right hand and repeat after me. I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Michigan, and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of the office of Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court to the best of my ability, so help me God.
JUSTICE RYAN: I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Michigan, and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of the office of Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court to the best of my ability, so help me God.
Thank you, Chief.
I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Michigan, and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of the office of Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court to the best of my ability, so help me God.
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Michigan, and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of the office of Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court to the best of my ability, so help me God.
JUSTICE RYAN: Congratulations.
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: Thank you. Now you may all be seated and listen to some words of wisdom from my Brother Ryan.
JUSTICE RYAN: This, Mr. Chief Justice and my brothers and sister, is indeed largely Blair’s day, although it belongs to the Court as the Chief Justice has observed. And, in order not to tread on his observations and out of deference to Blair’s day I express my gratitude to you and to the People of the State of Michigan.
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: Jim, I think it’s only fair that we don’t let Blair get away with this whole day. Why don’t you introduce the members of the Ryan family that are here.
JUSTICE RYAN: The member of the Ryan family who is here is my life partner, in the back, Mary.
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: I was being so very generous with you because I wanted to do the same thing. My wife Mary is in the back. My daughter Kathleen Doherty and her husband Vic are here. And my son Kevin is here.
Before we break up for the reception, I would like to take this opportunity to express on behalf of the whole Court our deep appreciation for your participation in this ceremony. As I indicated in the beginning, this indeed is a ceremony; it is a symbol. We communicate by symbols, as you all know. The taking of the oath is a symbol of the undertaking and the promise and the pledge that each of us will use our God-given talents to the service of the people. The robbing that Mrs. Moody participated in is another symbol of acceptance—the bestowing and the acceptance of the symbol of the office of Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Each of us on this bench is deeply conscious of the authority and the greatness of that office. And, as Justice MOODY so well said, we are all mindful that these offices are loaned to us and that they belong to the people. On behalf of this whole Court I can promise you that each of us will devote himself totally to the service of the people.
These proceedings will be completed when the Crier adjourns this session. At that time all of you are invited to attend a reception in the foyer which has been prepared to honor our newest member, Justice BLAIR MOODY, JR. We are grateful to our spouses and the staff for preparing the reception and for helping, us to welcome you.
Now, before I ask the Crier to adjourn this session, I would ask Governor Milliken if he would favor us with some remarks.
GOVERNOR MILLIKEN: Thank you Mr. Chief Justice and the members of the Court. Let me first say that this is a very unexpected pleasure. I, too, want to join with all of the men and women and young people who are here today to congratulate our newest member of the Michigan Supreme Court. I have known him for quite some time, not well. I knew his father at the time his father was appointed by Governor Williams to the United States Senate. I had enormous respect for his father and I have a feeling that, after our new Justice of the Supreme Court has served his tenure on this great Court in Michigan, he will have added to the rolls of public service in this State and brought to the public service of Michigan the same honor and the same kind of distinction that his father brought before him.
And so, Mr. Justice, on behalf of us all, I wish you well.
CHIEF JUSTICE KAVANAGH: Now, I am going to ask all of you to rise for a moment of silent prayer in memory of Senator Phil Hart, who gave so much to the State of Michigan, and who was such a dear friend to all of us. After the moment of silence I will ask the Crier to adjourn this session.
[MOMENT OF SILENCE]
CRIER: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, this Special Session of the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan now stands adjourned.