Justice Young to Retire, Snyder Will Have Fourth Appointment to MI Supreme Court

Young is the longest-serving justice on the court.

Michigan Supreme Court

State Supreme Court Justice Robert Young plans to retire at the end of next month, if not sooner. His plan is to return to his former law firm.

“After more than 20 years in the judiciary, with 18 on the Supreme Court, I have decided that it’s time for me to take on the next chapter of my career,” Young said in a written statement.

Young is the longest-serving justice on the court. He was appointed by Gov. John Engler in 1999. Young then won two subsequent elections after being nominated to the court by the GOP.

He was a central figure in a Republican majority on the court that shaped decisions on taxes, criminal law, the right to sue, and the state’s no-fault auto insurance system.

Young served six years as chief justice, an unusually long run in the position, and focused on bringing more technology to courts in Michigan and creating specialty courts that deal with mental health issues, substance abuse, and veterans.  

Young’s biggest legacy might be restoring a measure of cordiality on the court after years of infighting among the justices. 

“At the time I joined the court, it was marked by acrimony,” Young said. “When I became chief justice, we proved that good people who may differ in their opinions can come together and accomplish important things for the people we serve – and we do it amicably.”

Young’s retirement means Gov. Snyder will get his fourth chance to name a justice to the seven-member court. That new justice will get to run for the seat in 2018 with the advantage of being an incumbent.