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Kyra Harris Bolden makes history with appointment to Michigan Supreme Court

. Kyra Harris Bolden
State Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden will become the first Black woman to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court. (Courtesy photo)
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to appoint state Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden to the state’s high court
  • Bolden will be the first Black woman to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court
  • Bolden, a candidate for Supreme Court Justice this November, lost narrowly with 21 percent of votes

LANSING — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday appointed state Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden to the Michigan Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman to serve on the court.

Bolden, 34, D-Southfield, will succeed Justice Bridget McCormack, a Democratic nominee who plans to retire from the bench by Dec. 31. Bolden’s appointment will maintain Democrats’ 4-3 majority on the bench.

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“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.

“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."

In a prepared statement, Bolden said she hopes "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," Bolden said.

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel celebrated Bolden’s appointment in a Tuesday statement.

“The composition of our courts should reflect the population its rulings impact. I commend the Governor for selecting Kyra Bolden to serve on our state’s highest court,” she said. “I know Rep. Bolden to be a sincere, caring and thoughtful person who will always take into consideration the substantial impact of each and every one of her opinions. She will serve the state with integrity and humility and will do so honorably.”

Bolden was one of five candidates to run for two seats on the Supreme Court during the Nov. 8 election. She finished third with 21.4 percent of votes, trailing incumbent Justices Richard Bernstein, a Democratic nominee first elected to the bench in 2014, and Brian Zahra, who was first appointed by former GOP Gov. Rick Snyder in 2011.

Bolden will also be the only justice on the bench to have served as a state lawmaker. She is serving her second two-year term and serves on the House Judiciary Committee. She has worked on criminal justice reforms and championed bills to protect survivors of sexual violence

Before she was elected to the Legislature, Bolden was a criminal defense attorney. She also clerked in Wayne County’s Third Circuit Court under Judge John Murphy and worked as a civil litigation attorney with private law firm Lewis & Munda, P.C. She graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Bolden will serve a partial term that ends Jan. 1, 2025. She must run again in November 2024 if she wishes to finish the remainder of McCormack’s term, which expires Jan. 1, 2029, according to the Michigan Constitution.

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