by Pamela Young, Published October 14, 2011
YPSILANTI: Justice Marilyn Kelly, of the Michigan Supreme Court, will be the first guest speaker in Eastern Michigan University's "The View From The Bench," lecture series this month.
Kelly will speak on "The Critical Role of State Supreme Courts in the American Legal System," Monday, Oct. 17, 3:30 p.m., in the Halle Library auditorium. A question-and-answer will follow. The event, hosted by the political science department at EMU, is free and open to the public.
"Our speakers are prominent graduates who can inspire and educate EMU's pre-law students about working in the legal system," said Arnold Fleischman, head of the political science department. "We want to inform the community about aspects of the American legal system that don't generate a lot of headlines. In this case, we asked a respected jurist to explain the significant role of state supreme courts, which get far less attention than the U.S. Supreme Court."
Kelly was elected to the Supreme Court for an eight-year term, and re-elected in 2004. Her term expires Jan. 1, 2013. She also served as Chief Justice of the Court from 2009 to 2011. Prior to that, she served on the Michigan Court of Appeals for two, six-year terms and spent 17 years as a courtroom attorney.
A native Detroiter, Kelly earned a bachelor's degree from Eastern Michigan University and a master's degree from Middlebury College in Vermont She taught French language and literature at Eastern Michigan, Albion College and in the Grosse Pointe Public Schools before attending Wayne State University's law school. She graduated from Wayne with honors and currently serves on the law school's Board of Visitors. Kelly also has honorary doctor of law degrees by Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University College of Law and Wayne State University Law School.
Kelly is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association, serving as chair of the family law committee, and committee co-chair for the President's Task Force on Improved Dispute Resolution. She is on the governing board of the National Consortium for Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and has served as its president. She also has been president of the Women's Bar Association and of the Women Lawyers' Association of Michigan
Her many honors include the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award from the State of Israel Bonds Attorney Division; The State Bar of Michigan's Michael Franck Award for outstanding contribution to the legal profession, and the Guardian of Justice Award from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in recognition of her outstanding commitment and dedication to upholding civil rights.
Another Eastern Michigan graduate will follow Kelly on Nov. 14, when Judge Daniel Opperman speaks at 3:30 p.m. in the Halle Library auditorium.