CASL alumna Mary Beth Kelly to speak at Constitution Day, Sept. 21

9/12/2011

Constitution Day 2011, UM-DearbornMichigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly will visit campus on Wednesday, Sept. 21 to speak as part of Constitution Day 2011, which is sponsored by UM-Dearborn’s Student Government, the Political Science Association, College Democrats and College Republicans.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Room 1500 of the Social Sciences Building.

Kelly, an ’84 CASL alumna, was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in November 2010 and will serve a term that ends Dec. 31, 2018.

Previously, she served on the Wayne County Circuit Court for 11 years, having been appointed by Gov. John Engler in 1999; she was elected to the court in 2000 and re-elected in 2002 and 2008.

In 2002, the Michigan Supreme Court appointed her the chief judge of the Wayne Circuit Court, making her the first woman to lead that bench. She served as chief judge through 2007, focusing on budget deficit reduction, timely dockets, jail overcrowding and the court’s Family Division. Under her leadership, the Family Division doubled in size to devote more judicial resources to cases concerning children and families. She also led efforts to improve the racial diversity of the Wayne County jury system, working with the National Center for State Courts to gather data and recommend countywide solutions.

Before becoming a judge, Kelly was a commercial litigation partner with the law firm Dickinson Wright, which she joined in 1987. She earned her bachelor’s degree at UM-Dearborn and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Kelly has received numerous honors for her judicial leadership, including the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Council’s Distinguished Leadership Award. For her work on children’s issues, she was named Vista Maria’s Child Advocate of the Year and also was recognized by the Ennis Center for Children as Advocate of the Year. Kelly serves as an advisor to Vista Maria and to U-M’s Detroit Center for Family Advocacy. She is an adjunct law professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy Law School.

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