Gov. Whitmer Appoints First Black Woman to State Supreme Court

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently made a historic appointment by selecting State Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden to a notable post at the Michigan Supreme Court. Bolden will become the first Black woman to serve on the state’s top court early next year.

She would fill the seat left vacant by former Chief Justice Bridget McCormack who announced retirement in September. 

Bolden will be officially appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court in January by Whitmer.

Bolden is a lifelong resident of her hometown of Southfield, and currently serves HD-35 (communities of Southfield, Lathrup Village, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, and Franklin).

Bolden ran for the Supreme Court in the mid-term election but finished in third place. She is currently a state lawmaker (representing Michigan’s 35th House District) and a licensed lawyer. She will join the court in January when her term in the House legislature expires.

Rep. Bolden also sits on the Insurance and Judiciary committees. She also serves as vice chair of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

A graduate of Southfield Public Schools, Bolden received her bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University and later attended the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, according to her website.

After receiving her Juris Doctorate, Rep. Bolden became a civil litigation attorney. She is an active member of her community, serving as a member of the National Congress of Black Women-Oakland County, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, Alpha Kappa Alpha
Sorority Inc. and as a commissioner of the Total Living Commission for the city of Southfield.

Bolden has received several awards including 2020 Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40 honoree, 2021 Legislative Economic Development Champion Award and the 2021 Michigan Credit Union League Legislator of the Year award.

“She will 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,” Whitmer said in a Detroit News article. “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.”

Bolden, an experienced attorney and bipartisan lawmaker, connected with constituents across the state during her campaign for Michigan Supreme Court earlier this year.

 “I am honored to have been selected by Governor Whitmer to serve the wonderful state of Michigan and ensure greater trust and justice for generations,” said Bolden. “This is an important time for Michiganders, and I am grateful for the continued support to bring a fresh perspective to our highest court. This is a court that will ultimately have the final word on many items that will affect not only our lives, but our children’s, and their children’s lives for generations to come. I’m excited and ready to get to work!”

While working in Lansing, she advocated for Michiganders as a member of the Judiciary Committee and focused her work on criminal justice reform, crafting and passing pieces of critical bipartisan legislation into law, including the “Medically Frail” prison reform package, the revision of the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act, and the “Address Confidentiality for Survivors of Domestic Violence” package.

Staff Writer Sherri Kolade contributed to this report.

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