The Michigan Supreme Court is going to have its first blind judge in its jury members list as Justice Richard Bernstein has officially announced that he will be soon joining the court in a few days.
The 41-year-old judge has been blind since birth.
But before joining the top court, he has been working off the clock since last month on plenty of cases, including a labor dispute case that covers thousands of state employees and a medical marijuana case. He is currently preparing for 10 cases and the sources say he is making efforts in an extraordinary way, i.e. he is memorizing all the key points of every brief of the cases that are read to him by an aide.
According to the sources, Bernstein started with his work on the case soon after winning the election. An assistant at the Detroit-area law firm of the Judge’s family has started reading briefs to him for the mid-January arguments.
“It would be much easier if I could read and write like everyone else, but that’s not how I was created. No question, it requires a lot more work, but the flip side is it requires you to operate at the highest level of preparedness. … This is what I’ve done my entire life. This goes all the way back to grade school for me,” Bernstein said while revealing his story.
Extending his good wishes to Bernstein, Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. said, “Every new justice has to make a transition from whatever life he or she had before. His will be different than others, but he’s extraordinarily successful and very driven. You don’t enter Ironman competitions without having a steel backbone.”
This would be for the first time when Michigan will get a blind judge on its top court. There are many states to have blind judge on their courts. Some of them are Missouri and Washington D.C. While Justice Richard Teitelman has been appointed at the Missouri court, Judge David Tatel sits on a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.