From lynching to law school, Kyra Bolden makes history serving on the state’s highest court

Working mommy duty at night and hearing oral arguments during the day, Justice Bolden said she is excited to be an example of how anything is possible.
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Kyra Bolden is the first Black woman on the state's highest court.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 6:39 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Appointed to the state’s highest court, Kyra Bolden isn’t the first Black person to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court – she’s the sixth. But at 34 years old, she makes history as the first Black woman to wear the robes – the youngest person since 1960.

“This moment that we’re in being the first Black woman appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court is just such an honor and I’m just so excited to really do the work,” said Justice Bolden.

Working mommy duty at night and hearing oral arguments during the day, Justice Bolden said she is excited to be an example of how anything is possible.

“This has been a really surreal experience. I attended oral arguments for the first time last week and just being in this space and knowing the impact and the weight that this institution has on the everyday person, whether they know it or not, is just really special,” said Bolden.

Bolden is the only Justice on the bench with a background as a state lawmaker. She said her experience in the legislature is helpful.

“I think being a forward-facing public servant is helpful is in this role because I can continue my work in the community and really understand and know what justice means for people,” said Bolden.

Being a first-time mom and the great-granddaughter of a Black man who was lynched, Bolden said she’s dedicated to making sure we have a more ‘just’ system across the state of Michigan.

“With my background, my family’s background - I said in my appointment press conference that we’ve gone from lynching to law school and we’ve gone from injustice to a capital J, Justice. And I know that my representation doesn’t just mean a lot to little boys and little girls that look like me. I’ve met a number of people that have shared with me how much this means to them,” said Bolden.

Striving to be an example to her daughter and other working moms. “So yes, I absolutely will bring her to work. In spaces where it makes sense, I think we should normalize that,” said Bolden.

Justice Kyra Bolden is stepping in for Bridget Mary McCormack who recently retired. Bolden is currently serving a partial term which will end January 2025. The next round of oral arguments will start in March. As a former lawmaker, Bolden may have to recuse herself from cases involving legislation she previously worked on.

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