Blind judge making history on Michigan’s top court

DETROIT (AP) — Richard Bernstein has been preparing for weeks to become Michigan’s newest Supreme Court justice, even if he doesn’t take office until Thursday.

Since winning election in November, the 41-year-old Bernstein, who is blind, has been listening to an assistant who reads legal briefs aloud.

Bernstein then memorizes the key points in cases that will be argued Jan. 13.

Bernstein says it would be easier to read and write like everyone else, but that’s not how he was born. Michigan has never had a blind judge on its highest court. Few other states have, either.

Justice Bridget McCormack says Bernstein’s background is different than anyone else’s on the high court. She says there’s a lot that her fellow justices can learn from him, especially in disability law.

 

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