September 22, 1997
CHIEF JUSTICE MALLETT: Ladies and gentlemen. I want to welcome you to this special session of the Michigan Supreme Court. Here in our home away from home we are grateful for your attendance. This is an extraordinarily important event, and we are glad so many persons associated with this process have been able to find their way here. Membership on the Michigan Supreme Court is an extraordinary responsibility. All of my colleagues and I welcome you here to this room; and with that I’d like to bring to the podium Mr. Wallace Riley, President of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society. Mr. Riley.
MR. RILEY: Thank you, Your Honor. Mr. Chief Justice, Associate Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court, judges and lawyers, ladies and gentlemen. What a happy morning it is today here in the old Supreme Court chambers, and on behalf of the officers and the directors of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society I want to thank you for coming. I want to thank the Court for inviting the society to participate in the investiture of Justice CLIFFORD W. TAYLOR. This is the first time that the society has been invited to participate in an investiture ceremony, and we’re delighted to be a part of it.
In Michigan, as you know, we elect the members of the judiciary; we elect all our judges. But when a vacancy occurs by death or resignation, the Michigan Constitution says that the Governor shall fill that vacancy by an appointment for a term expiring January 1 after the next general election, the theory being that we of course elect all of our judges but we cannot hold a special election every time there’s a vacancy. So we allow the Governor to be the appointing authority, and the conscience of the appointing authority selects the judge to serve until the people at the next general election have a chance to fill that vacancy. While there may have been some creative doubt in the past about which governor appoints, there clearly is no doubt that the appointing authority is the Governor.
It is my honor to introduce to you now the appointing authority, the Honorable John Engler.
GOVERNOR ENGLER: Mr. Chief Justice, Justices of the Supreme Court, members of judiciary – federal and state, Attorney General Kelley, ladies and gentlemen. It is an honor to be here today. The selection and investiture of a Supreme Court justice is one of the most important civic rituals in our nation.
In Federalist Papers No. 78, Alexander Hamilton underscored the need for American people to insist, I quote, “[on] that independent spirit in the judges which must be essential to the faithful performance of so arduous a duty.”(1) The arduous duty to which Hamilton refers, of course, is the responsibility of the judge to interpret, not to make, the law. In fulfilling this duty, the judge plays a key role in guarding the constitution, maintaining limited government, and preserving this magnificent experiment in ordered freedom called the United States of America. Today we gather to recall this high purpose and at the same time to welcome the newest justice, the one hundredth justice to serve in this distinguished Court.
Many of you know Cliff Taylor. You know his intelligence, his wit, his gift of friendship, and you know that the people of Michigan are extremely fortunate to have the benefit of his impressive talents in public service. Retiring Justice DOROTHY COMSTOCK RILEY, a giant of a jurist who has served our state so devotedly with great affection, summed up her successor well when she stated, and again I quote, “Justice-designate TAYLOR is an extraordinarily able jurist and is committed to our State’s ‘One Court of Justice.’ I take great comfort in knowing that he will carry on in my stead and serve the people of Michigan faithfully and effectively.” Dorothy’s words reflect my own sentiments, and certainly, I believe, those of many others. And since announcing my appointment of Cliff to the Supreme Court on August 21, there has been a tremendous show of support for this native son of the community of Flint. This weekend at a Mackinac Island conference there was a warm response that I was observing and it was consistent with some of the editorial comment and public statements that followed the appointment.
I’ve had some experience; it’s not the first time that I’ve had the privilege of appointing Clifford Taylor to a position on the bench. As I look out over this beautiful chamber today, this magnificently restored room, I see a lot of faces that are familiar and people who were present when Cliff became a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals on March 2, 1992. The words of Father Murphy who gave the invocation then, still stand out. Apparently Father Murphy has a little higher connection than the rest of us because he knew something we didn’t know in ‘92. He was the only person who addressed Cliff that day not as judge but as justice. So, great prescience, Father, very well informed, obviously. Well, today’s investiture ceremony is the culmination to date of an outstanding career with a quarter century of experience as a lawyer, as a judge, Cliff Taylor brings outstanding credentials to our Supreme Court.
His opinions as an appellate judge have been thoughtful and thought provoking. They certainly reflect his keen understanding of both the United States and the Michigan Constitution. His jurisprudence is strictly guided by the words, the text of the constitution. He knows that it is the original meaning of the text, applied to present circumstances, that should govern judicial interpretation of statues and the constitution. It is not for the judge to substitute his personal agenda for that of the lawmakers who serve at either end of this magnificent Capitol building. Nor is it for the judge to be partisan in his opinions. I have impressed this on all my appointees and have not been disappointed.
In preparing for this occasion this morning, I found the words of Michigan’s greatest jurist of all time, THOMAS M. COOLEY, particularly appropriate. In an address to the University of Michigan in 1878, Justice COOLEY said, and I quote, “The constitution was agreed upon as an unfailing and invariable standard and authority; that was its purpose; it was to speak in one voice always; to utter the same sounds, to give the same authority, until in the manner agreed upon in it, the command should be changed or the authority modified. To treat its construction and scope as an open question was to eliminate its central idea…. The written constitution, as a settled and definite rule of right and of action should in theory be the common ground of parties, upon which all can stand without contest or controversy; and the questions of policy,” COOLEY went on to say, “which divide parties should leave this common ground wholly undisturbed, and not harrowed first this way and then that, to make it present an appearance that favors the prevailing party.”(2) I think COOLEY’s words, COOLEY’s philosophy, is a sentiment that eloquently sums up Justice TAYLOR’s judicial philosophy and so today we welcome an outstanding new justice to our state’s highest court.
In Cliff Taylor we have a man who loves Michigan, a jurist who knows the constitution, a scholar who writes with courage and eloquence, and a mentor who is influencing the rising generation. In Cliff Taylor, we have a most worthy justice on the Michigan Supreme Court. And Cliff, for almost three decades now I have been very proud to call you at various times a friend, a candidate, a judge. Michelle and I are particularly proud of our friendship with Cliff and Lucille; they are, as we know them and have for so many years, warm, loving, caring people. They’ve got two wonderful sons, Michael and John, and today this is a special occasion where we can, instead of Judge TAYLOR, make it Justice TAYLOR, and so Cliff, congratulations on the remarkable life of accomplishment. You bring tremendous learning and capability with you, and I wish you, on behalf of the people of Michigan, we all wish you, godspeed in your new post on the Michigan Supreme Court. Thank you very, very much.
MR. RILEY: That same Michigan Constitution that I referred to a moment ago does not require that judicial appointments be confirmed by the Senate. But we have a senator here today, prepared to give some confirming remarks. It’s my great honor to call upon United States Senator E. Spencer Abraham.
SENATOR ABRAHAM: Thank you very much. I want to begin today by thanking you, Cliff, for giving me a chance to participate. I appreciate very much this honor. I was thinking as I came up here how nice it was to be given a chance to appear with three of the most prominent attorneys in Michigan: Cliff Taylor and Wally Riley, the former head of the American Bar Association, and our own Governor, John Engler. And then it dawned on me, in neither case, none of the three are even the best lawyer in their own family – one reason I did not marry an attorney – so I want to start today by congratulating Lucille Taylor, who is a dear friend and has been a friend of our family for many decades. And I also want to offer congratulations to Michael and John Taylor, each of whom I have known since they were born. I know they are both very, very proud of their dad today. And I assure you that that’s a match, because I know how proud he is of both of you.
For me it’s a sense of pride because Cliff and I, as many of you know, have been friends seems like most of my life; in fact, I think it now is most of my life. We met in the political campaigns early in the 1970s. In 1974 I had the chance to manage Cliff’s race in this area for the Congress, and like most of our campaigns, it was unsuccessful, but that was actually a great break for Michigan, certainly for our legal community and now for our judiciary, because it’s been clear to me ever since that really Cliff Taylor was not cut out to be in the legislative branch of government; he was cut out to be in the judicial branch. He demonstrated that certainly during his lengthy career as a private practitioner, where he was certainly one of the state’s outstanding lawyers, and then on the Court of Appeals, where he has served with great distinction, and now up to the Supreme Court, where he will fill this seat and join our other distinguished justices and, I think, have the same kind of strong impact on our judiciary as he has already in the Court of Appeals.
Interestingly though, I was thinking as I prepared for today, more from a personal perspective, that not only do I think he will be a great justice and offer a lot to us as a state in terms of the interpretation of the law, but I think as John indicated, he will be a great instructor and teacher from that position as well. He certainly has taught me much in my life, for which I will always be grateful. He taught me actually how to be a good lawyer, because after I came out of law school I actually practiced with Cliff for a while. He gave me precise indications on that rule against perpetuities, of which he was always such an expert, and a variety of other things. But he was a great mentor to me when I was both a fledgling law student and then in my initial years as a practitioner. He also taught me how to be a loyal friend.
I know many of the people in this room today are Cliff Taylor’s friends, and I think that each of us who is counts that as one of the greatest achievements of our lives. He and Lucille are such loyal and dedicated friends, such supportive people in both good times, but also when times aren’t so good. That certainly has been the case for our family. He also taught me a lot about honor and about duty, the duty he brings to public service: a sense of commitment to this state and to the people whom he will serve. I think he will follow in the distinguished footsteps of DOROTHY COMSTOCK RILEY and bring the same kind of commitment to the bench, to the highest bench, that she has had in her career. Cliff and I really actually got to know each other because of his friendship with my parents. And it was sort of an interesting relationship because they were a generation apart and yet somehow he and Lucille and my mom and dad became extremely close. It was out of that that we developed a relationship which is about as close as I probably will ever have to a brother. And so, Cliff, I know if my mom and dad were here today how proud they would be because, just as I think of you as sort of a surrogate brother, I know they thought of you certainly as a surrogate son when I wasn’t around, and I know they’re looking down today with great pride as well.
But we’re here really to celebrate his career as a judge, and he will be an outstanding judge because he brings to the bench a deep appreciation of the rule of law, a firm understanding of the constitution— the United States Constitution, the Michigan Constitution— the proper role of the judiciary, the proper balance in that role between the different branches of government, the separation of powers. That understanding and that commitment, I think, will serve our state extremely well. And so as I said at the outset, I’m deeply proud to have been asked to participate today. I’m deeply excited for my friend to be given this opportunity. I think our state will feel that it was a wonderful selection by our Governor because I am confident that Cliff Taylor will certainly earn his mark alongside these other justices as somebody who brings to this Court the finest Michigan has to offer. Thank you very much.
MR. RILEY: Well, you’ve already all heard about Justice-designate TAYLOR. What you’ve heard seems to be all good. But I detect that there might be some lingering doubts and that there are some of you who believe that it takes one to know one. So I’d like to now call upon a Michigan Court of Appeals colleague of Judge TAYLOR, Judge MAURA CORRIGAN.
JUDGE CORRIGAN: May it please the Court. Mr. Chief Justice MALLETT and Justices, Mr. Justice TAYLOR and members of the Taylor family, Justice RILEY, Wally Riley, Monsignor Murphy, Senator Abraham, Governor Engler. I am so deeply honored that my friend and colleague, CLIFFORD WOODWORTH TAYLOR, has asked me to speak this morning on the occasion of his swearing in as the one hundredth justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. I always tell the lawyers who appear before me to cut to the chase and speak from the heart. And this morning I’ll try to follow my own advice.
Who is this man who has come to join you at table? What can I tell you about his heart and mind? I have known Cliff Taylor only for the five and a half years that we have served together on the Michigan Court of Appeals. He is a colleague who makes the experience of judging meaningful and satisfying. Cliff is both intellectually gifted and principled. He practices law as it was meant to be practiced— as a learned profession.
Cliff writes his opinions and lives his life in the active voice. He holds himself accountable, and he expects the same of others. He recognizes the power of words and the primacy of reason. He is a dominant man, but at the same time he is civil and gentlemanly in his dealings with his colleagues, lawyers, litigants, and the public. Cliff is first and foremost a family man. He and his sister Carol were loved and nurtured by their parents, his dad a Presbyterian minister, Alexander, and his mom, Carolyn. He draws love and strength from his family, from his wife of twenty-nine years, Lucille, and his children, Michael and John. As has been said already, Michael and John, you know that your dad is very proud of you and he has very high hopes for you. Cliff and Lucille’s twenty-nine-year marriage has thrived, I think, because of the challenges that these two highly gifted people have surmounted together in their respective careers. In fact in that respect they mirror the very devoted marriage of Wally and DOROTHY RILEY. Both of these families, the Rileys and the Taylors, have been very blessed.
In some quarters Cliff Taylor is considered controversial. And why might that be?
The reason that I find most persuasive I heard in the remarks that Earl Spencer gave for his sister Diana in the eulogy he delivered, and I quote, “I don’t think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media. Why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down. It is baffling. My own and only explanation is that genuine goodness is threatened by those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum.” Cliff Taylor has a firmly grounded and finely honed notion of what is good, and that can be threatening. Those who would dismiss Clifford Taylor usually do so with stereotypical labels. I have an aversion to labels and I have never found Cliff Taylor to dabble in them, not once. Please do not miss my point this morning. I am not claiming the moral high ground for a particular philosophy. But I do claim it for those judges and justices who think that the highest goal of a lawsuit is the search for truth.
As one who has committed to state what is true in the decision of cases, Clifford Taylor joins a long and proud line of jurists in black robes. Every justice on this Court is bound by his or her oath to search for and declare what is true in the framework of our constitution and laws. Cliff Taylor will help you, justices, to find consensus where you can and to focus the issues sharply where you cannot. Fame is fleeting; who among us could even name a majority of those justices who precede the one hundredth justice today? And certainly today’s hot disputes will shortly be but curious and dusty historical relics. But the journey of this Court continues, the work of delivering ordered liberty, the promise of ordered liberty, to the people of Michigan. As Cliff Taylor joins you today, I know that he will faithfully uphold the oath that he is about to swear. He will keep his promise to the people of this state. And on behalf of his colleagues on the Court of Appeals, I wish him best.
Monsignor Murphy, I certainly don’t intend to intrude on your territory, but it’s something I want to do. So I’d like to conclude with a psalm. It is the same prayer that Father Clement Kern offered when Chief Justice G. MENNEN WILLIAMS was sworn in to the Michigan Supreme Court. It is Psalm 119, verses 33 to 41. “Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes and I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding that I may keep thy law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of thy commandments, for I delight in that path. Incline my heart to thy testimonials, and not to gain. Turn my eyes from looking at vanities and give me life in thy ways. Confirm to thy servant thy promise, which is for those who revere thee. Turn away the reproach which I dread, for thy ordinances are good. Behold, O Lord, I long for thy precepts: in thy righteousness give me life.”(3) Cliff Taylor, God bless you today, and as you discharge your duties, God bless every member of this Court and all of us. Thank you, Cliff.
MR. RILEY: Well, I know we’ve all been waiting to see if Cliff will accept this appointment. There are two matters before I call upon Chief Justice MALLETT to actually administer the oath. The first thing is, I think Spence Abraham referred to the rule of perpetuities. We have to clarify, Cliff, that the term is not twenty-one years plus lives in being. When you preside, you’re kind of like the umpire, you get to call the shots. And I know a lot of you are clutching your programs, wondering whatever happened to the invocation. Well, Cliff needs all the help he can get. More than Father Kern can give him. So I want to call now on Monsignor Michael Murphy to say an invocation. It’s a blessing for Cliff and for all of us and all the Court. Father. He’s waited patiently.
FATHER MURPHY: Well, Judge CORRIGAN and Mr. Riley. If I was prophetic a few years ago about Justice TAYLOR, I think Monsignor Murphy may be a little prophetic too. Wait until I tell the bishop, let alone the Pope. Let us pray.
God of all humanity, be with us in this time of our lives. Be with us with your wisdom, mercy and justice. May we always act in a fashion that manifests our desire to be observant of your law and considerate of your people. This assembly is a people dedicated to the service of the law and traditions of our land. These servants of their fellow citizens have committed their lives to the public and common good of all. Be with them and guide them to fulfill their mission with intelligence, integrity, and intrepidity. Today we will witness the oath of Justice TAYLOR. As we hear his vow, may you fill his heart with your mercy. Touch his mind with your wisdom and understanding and fill his being with a spirit of justice for all citizens. May his judicial decisions always be rooted in his love for each person. Lord, we know that those who would lead us must also bear the burden of cynicism and criticism. Do not let these evils dissuade him or any officer of the Court from fulfilling the mandates of the law. May our judges never shun or shirk their duties before you and that of our nation. We pray today and all days to you who live forever and ever, Amen.
MR. RILEY: Appointing authority, take care of the rest. Well, the moment has come.
Mr. Chief Justice, are you prepared to administer the oath?
CHIEF JUSTICE MALLETT: Would you raise your right hand? [Chief Justice MALLETT administered the oath.]
JUSTICE TAYLOR: I, CLIFFORD WOODWORTH TAYLOR, do solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Michigan, and to carry out the duties and responsibilities as a member of the Michigan Supreme Court, to the best of my ability, so help me God.
CHIEF JUSTICE MALLETT: Ladies and gentlemen, Michigan Supreme Court Justice CLIFFORD WOODWORTH TAYLOR. (Standing ovation.)
JUSTICE TAYLOR: Well. That reminds me of the reaction my clerks have when I bring in one of my draft opinions. Father Murphy, Chief Justice MALLETT, Justices of the Supreme Court, Governor Engler, Senator Abraham, Attorney General Kelley, Chief Judge CORRIGAN, Judges of the Court of Appeals, Judges of the Circuit, District, and Probate Courts, our colleagues on the federal bench who have joined us, the leadership of the Michigan Senate and House, members of those bodies, members of the United States House of Representatives, and my friends and family, than you for honoring me and my family by your attendance here today. Governor Engler, I am profoundly grateful to you for your expression of confidence in me. You have tendered to me the highest honor to which any lawyer in the state could aspire. It is also especially meaningful to have been appointed by the man who, I believe for my lifetime and the period thereafter, will be the standard against whom all subsequent Michigan governors will be measured. My acceptance of your appointment is, as Justice JAMES RYAN said with eloquent simplicity twenty-two years ago when he was appointed by Governor Milliken to this bench, a public pledge to be the best lawyer and judge I know how to be and thus hopefully to vindicate your judgment. Thank you, sir.
As the invitation to this event notes, I am the one hundredth member of this Court in its long and distinguished history. This milestone number suggests something celebratory. With this in mind I inquired of Chief Justice MALLETT if perhaps he felt I should have some sort of bonus. As a man rapidly accommodating himself to my sense of humor, no small task, he smiled and replied that indeed he did and that it would be that I would be assigned to write twice as many opinions as would have normally been the case.
Obviously that isn’t quite what I had in mind, nor did he, I hope, but it’s worth noting that even were it true, it would not be that poorly received because I am looking forward to this work and assume it will be as enjoyable intellectually and collegially as was my five and one-half year tenure on the Court of Appeals.
When I came to realize that I was the one hundredth justice, I thought more than one might usually about this Court’s earliest members and its reputation throughout the better part of two centuries. Being an active member of the Supreme Court Historical Society, and thus acquainted with its publication indexing the special sessions of the Supreme Court which are indeed sessions such as this one, I used it to review some of this Court’s history.
The first justice while we were a territory was the colorful AUGUSTUS BREVOORT WOODWARD. He came here by President Jefferson’s appointment in 1805 shortly after the territory of Michigan with its 3,000 inhabitants and probably millions of mosquitoes had been separated out from the Indiana territory. He and the other two justices who
accompanied him were paid $1,200 a year and apparently the attraction of this post in what was described even by those who came here as a distant, isolated and sparsely settled peninsula, was that the tenure of office was “during good behavior.” We see, then, that even at our earliest stirrings, just as is the case today, we can raise our eyes from weighty questions when the topic turns to the always interesting issues surrounding our pay, pensions and retirement.
In any case, Justice WOODWARD, once here, not only served the Court, which incidentally was the only one for the territory, but also was involved in the chartering of the University of Michigan. He is recalled by those who knew him in the Michigan Reports of 1857 as “a man of considerable talent, but his excessive eccentricities, on the bench and elsewhere, detracted very much from his practical usefulness.”(4) I believe that this may be the earliest recorded trashing of a University of Michigan man. Moreover, the theme hinted at here certainly has caught on as those of us who live in East Lansing can tell you.
The second justice who came in 1805 was JOHN GRIFFIN. He was similarly described in cryptic fashion in the Reports as “constitutionally inert, wanted firmness and decision of character, and disliked responsibility; but was considered an upright and an honest man.”(5) Remarkably, Justice GRIFFIN, we are informed, at the time of his death, was next in descent to a Scottish peerage.
Finally, the third of our earliest justices was FREDERICK BATES, who only served until 1807, whereupon he resigned his post to take an identical one in the territory of Louisiana. He is not described any further in our Reports for which his descendants who, having seen the fate of WOODWARD and GRIFFIN, no doubt were grateful.
Eventually statehood came, and post-Civil War this Court, with Justices COOLEY, CAMPBELL, CHRISTIANCY, and GRAVES, and those who followed, intellectually dominated American law. Great questions of agricultural, logging and transportation jurisprudence, and in the twentieth century, of industrialization, trade unionism, worker rights, and, more recently, environmental concerns, issued forth in the day-to-day opinions of this body. These decisions were of significance not only to our citizens, but also to other western states then forming their fundamental law.
Throughout the Court’s long history, the sacred trust of each justice, even as it is ours today, is to be a good steward of the development of the common law, to be faithful to the text and meaning of the statute law, but by far the most solemn and profound duty is to preserve the constitutional design. That is, through the unique American institution of judicial review, to maintain the constitutionally established separation of powers among the three branches of government. By so doing, we insure that the democratic authority of the people is maintained even as our founders intended.
I would point out that in no small measure this record of excellence for our Court comes not only from the fine individuals who have served, but from an even simpler phenomenon. We have had long-tenured justices who have brought continuity to our Court. Consider this: At any time in its 161-year history, a person who looked in on a session of this Court would have always been able to see one of a list of just ten justices sitting on the Court.(6) In a legal system based on precedent, as ours is, the importance of this passing of the torch from one generation of lawyers to another cannot be overstated. Indeed, I am hoping that in fourteen months, the merits of the notion of continuity are not
lost on the electorate.
No event of this sort is complete without a recognition of the important people in my life. I’d like to first of all introduce you to my mother, Carolyn Taylor. Surely, although mother is far too loyal to admit it, as she attended a multitude of conferences with teachers in one state or another of outrage about my frisky behavior as a boy, she surely could not have anticipated such a day. She has become recently somewhat famous for her wonderfully motherly riposte upon learning from me that the Governor was going to appoint me to the Supreme Court when she said, “That’s nice, Cliff, what’s next?” Finally, just like on the sidelines on the football game when they zoom in on the player who’s the center of attention, I just want to say, “thanks, mom.”
Also here with us today is my engaging, and loving and frankly quite funny, sister, Carol Sorgee from Phoenix, Arizona. With her is her daughter, Dr. Kathryn Walker, who is a physician in the State of Washington.
Also present is our great family friend, Colonel Vincent T. Ford. Colonel Ford is a man who has taught me much in his quiet way about what a worthwhile life is. I’d like next to introduce you to my fine sons. My son, Michael, is a sophomore at the University of Michigan, and my son John is a junior at East Lansing High School. They are wonderful guys with great promise who have given Lucille and me endless satisfaction as parents.
Finally, my wife, Lucille, who by her loving and steadfast guidance, to say nothing about her forbearance from applying for this job, has truly been central to making all this possible. I don’t know how history will judge me, but if one of the criteria of noteworthy achievement by a man is having a great woman at his side, I think my chances are good.
Finally, a word about the Rileys. It is, of course, a great sadness to all of us, that Justice DOROTHY COMSTOCK RILEY has had health difficulties which necessitated her resignation. As I have mentioned on other occasions, I believe her to be one of the great justices of this century. She has written with cogency, has manifested intellectual integrity, and has displayed steely courage in upholding the law in the face of intense pressure from those who would ask the Court to depart from its proper role. We all owe her a great debt. Were I to be able to perform my assignments in such a fashion as to emulate her, I would count my tenure on this Court as successful. To give you a sense, however, of the high regard in which she is held by this Court, let me quote from the thoughtful and indeed moving remarks from her friend and colleague, Justice PATRICIA BOYLE, at a recent tribute to Justice RILEY.
Dorothy’s opinions reflect her conviction that the result, like the law itself, is only as firm as its foundation. Each opinion is faithful to development of the guiding principle. The careful articulation of fact and the meticulous application of principle to fact. You can feel in her work, you can almost touch it, a degree of self assurance that is a product of faith and courage: The faith is that if principle is paramount, the people, the profession, and the institution have been served; and the courage to follow the principle whatever some may say or think about the result. It is the measure of her colleagues’ respect for those qualities that there was never a decision made around our conference table without one of us asking at some point not just how Dorothy would vote, but why. More times than I can count, I have said, “before I make up my mind, I want to know what Dorothy thinks.” Dorothy’s style is elegant, but style is simply the hallmark of temperament stamped on the material at hand. She is like bone china, elegant and delicate in appearance, but strong and enduring in composition. I know Dorothy as a comrade in arms with the courage to confront every challenge. Indeed it was her sense that in the future she might not measure up to her own standards of responsibility to the Court that led her to make the bravest decision of all. Beautiful words Patty, for a beautiful woman.
Also, a word of thanks and tribute to Justice RILEY’s husband, Wallace Riley, a very distinguished lawyer who has been a superb practitioner. President of the State Bar of Michigan and President of the American Bar Association, and now serves at this stage of his great career as President of the Supreme Court Historical Society, which society, as you probably know, was formed when Justice RILEY was the chief justice of our Court. He has been the leader of the society since that time and has done a wonderful job of marshalling the resources of the Court to effectively preserve the rich history and patrimony of this institution. With today’s ceremony, which my friends David Porteous and Ellen Brennan and my wonderful secretary, Tammy Rodriquez, were so tireless in planning, the society hopefully enters a new era that is one where it will be engaged, in addition to its usual tasks of chronicling the Court’s history, to assisting in making that history. I applaud this and think that its fine handling of today’s events is ample reason for confidence that it will perform both functions with admirable competence in the future. Thank you Wally from all of us for your example and for all your help.
Mr. Chief Justice, I present myself to you and, as with the ninety-nine before me, I pledge to do my best.
CHIEF JUSTICE MALLETT: Ladies and gentlemen, I want, on behalf of my colleagues, to thank you all very much for coming. Membership on the Michigan Supreme Court is an extraordinary responsibility, and we all here as a group know how deeply Cliff feels about the new set of responsibilities that he is undertaking. This is an important time for the judiciary, and we welcome Cliff to the Michigan Supreme Court family, anxious for his contribution and looking forward to his collegial approach to problem solving. Problems that confront the judiciary now are many; Cliff is aware of them, and we are grateful for his insight in helping us design a program to solve them. And while it is true Cliff, that we do, and I particularly, miss Dorothy, we know that your work in her place in aiming to meet the standards she set will serve the people of Michigan very well. We are grateful that you have joined us, we thank the Governor, and again we thank all of you. This is one of the great times, and I am positive that Cliff will look back on this work and honestly say, no matter what else you do, this is the best work that you’ve ever done. Ladies and gentlemen, Court is adjourned.
1) The Federalist (New York: Heritage Press, 1945), p 524.
2) Changes in the balance of governmental power: An address to the law students of Michigan University, March 20, 1978, speeches by Michigan Men, No. 9.
3) 404 Mich lxiii (1979).
4) 4 Mich 12.
5) Id. At 13.
6) EPAPHRODITUS RANSOM (1836-1848), SANFORD M. GREEN (1848-1857), GEORGE MARTIN (1851-1867), JAMES V. CAMPBELL (1858-1890), CLAUDIUS B. GRANT (1890-1909), FLAVIUS L. BROOKE (1908-1921), HOWARD WEIST (1921-1945), LELAND W. CARR (1945-1963), THOMAS M. KAVANAGH (1958-1975), and CHARLES L. LEVIN (1973-1997)