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​Justice Robert P. Young, Jr.

 

Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. is the longest serving member of the Court.  He served as Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court for an unprecedented three two-year terms, ending January 6, 2017. First selected by his colleagues in 2011 to lead the Court, Young was dedicated to transforming our state’s court system into a more efficient and customer-focused institution, noting that: “Our goal is for Michigan’s judiciary to be a national model of efficiency and service to the public.”  
 
As Chief Justice, he promoted initiatives to measure judicial performance, track public satisfaction, adopt best practices, and implement technologies that expand public access, increase efficiency and boost productivity of trial courts. “You can’t get a cup of coffee without being asked to provide your opinion about customer service,” Young noted.  “I believe courts should take the same approach to consulting the public so that good work can be recognized and problem areas addressed.” As a result of this initiative, more than 100,000 court users were surveyed, and the vast majority said they were treated with dignity and respect and were satisfied with the timeliness and fairness of the disposition of their cases.
 
During his tenure as Chief Justice, the Court committed to “rightsizing” Michigan’s judiciary so that it cost citizens no more than necessary for the efficient administration of justice. To this end, during Justice Young’s tenure as Chief, 26 judgeships were cut, saving taxpayers nearly $15 million over the past 6 years, and 14 more judgeship are slated for elimination.  The cumulative effect will be a 7 percent reduction in the total number of judges statewide and $175 million in savings to taxpayers.  
 
Young also supported the implementation of innovative technologies to help courts work smarter.  This includes a recently completed plan to install videoconferencing equipment in every Michigan courtroom, allowing thousands of hearings to be held in "virtual” courtrooms, saving transportation costs and avoiding the security risks of transporting prisoners.   In addition, major initiatives were launched to upgrade case management systems for trial courts and to implement statewide e-filing.
 
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Young joined Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman in 1978, becoming partner in 1982.  He became vice president, corporate secretary, and general counsel of AAA Michigan in 1992, prior to joining the Court of Appeals in 1995. After being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1999, Young was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2010 to a term ending on January 1, 2019.
 
Young has served on the boards of many charitable groups, including the Detroit Urban League, United Community Services of Metropolitan Detroit, and Vista Maria, a resource center for abused and neglected young women and girls. Justice Young was a commissioner of the Michigan Civil Service Commission, and a trustee of Central Michigan University, University Liggett School, and the Grosse Pointe Academy. He is a former chair of the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce “Leadership Detroit.”
 
Justice Young was named Lawyer of the Year in 2012 and Michiganian of the Year in 2016.  He has been awarded honorary degrees by Central Michigan University and Michigan State University College of law and named “Alumnus of the Year” by Detroit Country Day School. Young was an adjunct professor of Wayne State Law School for more than 20 years and now teaches at Michigan State University Law School. He serves on the United States Supreme Court Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure and is the author of several law review articles.
 
The father of two sons, Young has been married to Dr. Linda Hotchkiss for more than 40 years.  
 
 

Publications

“A Judicial Traditionalist Confronts Unique Questions of State Constitutional Law Adjudication,” 76 Albany L Rev 1947 (2012/2013)

“Active Liberty and the Problem of Judicial Oligarchy,” in The Supreme Court and the Idea of Constitutionalism (Kautz, Melzer, Weinberger & Zinman, Eds., University of Pennsylvania Press 2009).

“A Judicial Traditionalist Confronts Justice Brennan’s School of Judicial Philosophy,” 33 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 263 (2008).

“A Judicial Traditionalist Confronts the Common Law,” 8 Texas Review of Law & Politics, 299 (2004).
 
Lang, Neilson, Young & Holsinger, Eds., Michigan Civil Procedure, (Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1999).

Young and Kopka, Eds., Michigan Civil Procedure During Trial, 2d Ed. (Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 1989).

Lang, Young & Beckering, Eds., Michigan Civil Procedure, (Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2d Ed, 2012).

Michigan Supreme Court

Hall of Justice, 6th Floor

925 W. Ottawa Street

Lansing, MI 48915

Phone: (313) 972-3250

Fax: (313) 875-9329