Photo: Getty Images
  /  01.01.2023

Kyra Bolden changed the course of Michigan’s state history when she became the first sworn Black female to serve on its Supreme Court. Bolden, 34, was sworn in on Sunday (Jan. 1).

She was appointed to the high court by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 22. The experienced legal system professional was chosen to succeed Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, who announced her retirement last year after holding the position since January 2019. Including Bolden, Michigan has only had seven female chief justices.

The Detroit News‘ political reporter Craig Mauger captured footage of the state legislator’s ceremony. McCormack passed the metaphorical baton to the rising justice when she placed her cloak over her successor’s shoulders. When Gov. Whitmer appointed the former criminal defense attorney to the Supreme Court, she said Bolden would “bring a unique perspective to our high court as a Black woman — and as a new, working mom — that has too long been left out.” She added, “Kyra is committed to fighting for justice for generations and I know she will serve Michigan admirably, building a brighter future for her newborn daughter and all our kids.”

“I will ensure equal access to justice, apply the law without fear or favor, and treat all who come before our state’s highest court with dignity and respect. I also know that this moment — becoming the first Black woman to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court — would not be possible without leaders like Judges Shelia Johnson, Debra Nance, Deborah Thomas, Cynthia Stephens and Denise Langford Morris,” said Bolden in a statement. She continued, “These are the Black women who blazed the path that I seek to follow. I hope that my voice on the court will inspire future generations to pursue their dreams. I am humbled by this honor, and I am ready to get to work on behalf of all Michiganders.”

View a snippet of the swearing-in ceremony below.


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