By Tim Martin | MLive.com
LANSING, MI – The Michigan Supreme Court has elected Robert Young Jr. to a second term as chief justice.
The Republican-nominated Young’s re-appointment as chief justice was announced Wednesday. Court justices select a chief justice at the beginning of each odd-numbered year.
The Michigan Supreme Court’s 4-3 conservative majority remains intact this year. Two Republican-nominated justices – Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra – kept their seats in the November election. Democrat-nominated Bridget McCormack takes over for Democrat-backed Marilyn Kelly, who could not run for the court again because of age restrictions.
Young’s selection to continue as chief justice was unanimous, according to a press release from the Michigan Supreme Court.
In a statement provided by the court, Young said he will continue court reforms aimed at improving public service and transparency.
“Performance measurement has been used in the private sector for years, and it can be just as effective in the public sector,” Young’s statement read.
“It may seem counter-intuitive to say that we can apply measurements to the quality of justice, but in fact it can be done, in no small part by focusing on the public’s experience,” Young said. “For example, to assess ”˜access and fairness,’ courts could ask litigants to answer questions about their experience, including ”˜Did the judge hear your side of the story? When you left the courtroom, did you know what to do next? Did court staff answer your questions?’”
Young is a Detroit native who earned undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University. He began his legal career in 1978 with the law firm of Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen, & Freeman. He later worked as a vice president and general counsel of AAA Michigan.
Then-Gov. John Engler, a Republican, appointed Young to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 1995. In 1999, Engler appointed Young to the Michigan Supreme Court. Young was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2010.