Take him back, Sam!
Don’t you hate it when someone whom you’ve placed on a pedestal turns out to be a disappointment?
When it turns out that the pastor for whom you’ve had such great respect is caught having an affair with a parishioner?
When it turns out that the priest who helped you through some very difficult times turns out to be a child molester?
When it turns out that one of your company’s exciting achievers has been embezzling?
That’s what I’m feeling today about Richard Bernstein. I was so impressed when he got elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2014…the first blind person in history to reach that position! He was a huge crusader for rights of the physically challenged, something that touched the heart of this prisoner advocate.
But the wall of Jericho came crashing down in 2023.
Another wonderful jurist, Kyra Harris Bolden, was appointed to the same court by Governor Whitmer. And, praise God, this new Black justice hired a former prisoner as her law clerk! Granted, we’ve had our differences with Pete Martel over the years, but, in our opinion, he was perfect for the job. Not in the eyes of colleague Richard Bernstein, however.
It made no difference to Justice Bernstein that Pete had become a fierce advocate for those behind bars upon his release, and that he had held a prestigious position with the State Appellate Defender Office prior to this post.
Nope, he was an ex-offender! Bernstein said he believed in rehabilitation, but nobody who had ever been convicted of shooting at a cop should work for the Supreme Court. Newly appointed Justice Bolden was blindsided by the public announcement from a colleague. Martel politely resigned, in a hurry, to protect her reputation. What a shame. It was the perfect opportunity to show that former prisoners can be a productive force in society. Pete would not have disappointed!
Returning citizens are enraged and outraged, as they should be…especially after, when insisting that Martel should not have the job, Bernstein told a reporter for the Detroit News that he is, “intensely pro-law enforcement!”
Whoops. Think we’ll get impartial rulings from a justice like this when matters like the shooting of a Black person by a white cop come before the court?
Sorry. It’s time for Justice Bernstein to return to his family’s insurance company.
He missed his chance.
Call him back, Sam.