Justice Mary Beth Kelly was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in November 2010 and will serve a term that ends December 31, 2018. She served on the Wayne County Circuit Court for 11 years, having been appointed by Governor 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 county-wide solutions. Her leadership on this issue has been recognized by The Detroit News. She has been praised as “one of the most effective chief judges in the history of the Michigan Court system” by then-Chief Justice Clifford Taylor.
Justice 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 was also recognized by the Ennis Center for Children as Advocate of the Year. Justice Kelly serves as an advisor to Vista Maria and to the University of Michigan’s Detroit Center for Family Advocacy. She was an adjunct law professor at the University of Detroit- Mercy Law School.
Before becoming a judge, Justice Kelly was a successful commercial litigation partner with the law firm Dickinson Wright, which she joined in 1987. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan at Dearborn and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School.
Justice Kelly is an active member of Sacred Heart-Grosse Ile parish where she has taught Catechism; she has also chaired the parish’s Youth Commission and served on the pastoral council. Justice Kelly resides in Grosse Ile with her husband Kevin and their 12-year-old son Jackson. In addition to her professional and community achievements, Justice Kelly is an avid runner and continues to run competitively.