UPDATE (5:36 P.M.) – Governor Whitmer thanked Chief Justice Bridget McCormick for her leadership in the court before introducing Bolden.

Bolden comes with experience as the state representative for Southfield. She was a law clerk and has been an attorney for eight years.

On election day, the Democrat nominee came in third in the race for two open slots. Bolden says in the span of a few generations, her family has gone from facing injustice to being in a position to ensure the law is carried out fairly.

“And so to all the people of the state of Michigan, I swear to you this oath, this promise, this commitment. I swear that I will faithfully serve our state and you, its people. I promise I will judge each case fairly, impartially and without fear or favor. And I swear I will pursue equal justice under the law for this generation and the next,” Bolden said.

Both Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist say Bolden will serve as an example for the state’s younger generations.

When Bolden joins the court in January, the bench will keep a Democrat majority.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to appoint the first Black woman to the Michigan Supreme Court, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Kyra Harris Bolden is Whitmer’s choice to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Justice Bridget McCormack, spokesman Bobby Leddy said.

An afternoon announcement was planned.

Bolden is a state lawmaker from the Detroit area who has been a licensed lawyer for only eight years. She was a Democratic nominee for the Supreme Court in the Nov. 8 election but finished third in a race for two seats.

Bolden, 34, will join the court in January after her House term expires. Democrats will continue to have a 4-3 majority on the court.

“Kyra is passionate about the law and will be the first Black woman ever to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court,” Whitmer said. “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.”

The governor also touched on Bolden’s Southfield roots, her work as a state representative, law clerk and litigator.

“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,” said Whitmer.

Bolden said that she was honored to be chosen by Whitmer for the appointment.

I will ensure equal access to justice, apply the law without fear or favor, and treat all who come before our state’s highest court with dignity and respect. I also know that this moment – becoming the first Black woman to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court – would not be possible without leaders like Judges Shelia Johnson, Debra Nance, Deborah Thomas, Cynthia Stephens, and Denise Langford Morris. These are the Black women who blazed the path that I seek to follow. I hope that 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.”  

Kyra Harris Bolden

Black men from both political parties have served as Supreme Court justices: Democrats Dennis Archer and Conrad Mallett, and Republicans Robert Young Jr. and Kurtis Wilder. Wilder was the last, losing an election in 2018.

McCormack said in September that she was stepping down with six years left in her term. She served as chief justice until this week when members of the court chose Justice Elizabeth Clement to take over.

“Michigan’s courts are on a steady path to becoming more accessible, more engaged and more inclusive, and today’s addition to the Supreme Court is a groundbreaking step forward,” Clement said.

If Bolden wants to keep the seat through 2028, she must run in the 2024 election.

She worked as a lawyer in civil litigation before her 2018 election to the House. Bolden also worked for a Wayne County judge and was a court-appointed defense lawyer in a Southfield court.