GOOD NEWS: Justice Really Is Blind in Michigan

richard bernstein

Many pundits and historians now believe that, if mass-market TV news had existed in the ’30s, this nation would not have elected a man in a wheelchair to the highest office in the land.

Of course, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became one of our country’s most highly regarded leaders. Many Americans either didn’t know or didn’t care that he happened to be disabled.

In short, we are a visually demanding people. Regretfully, that’s why a hapless dunderhead can score a blockbuster TV show but many of our far more deserving clients can’t even get an interview.

The guy pictured above would like to change all of that…at least in the world of law. 

Meet Richard Bernstein.

He’s a successful 41-year-old attorney based in Detroit who is about to take his elected seat on the Michigan Supreme Court. And he has been blind since birth:

“It would be much easier if I could read and write like everyone else, but that’s not how I was created. No question, it requires a lot more work, but the flip side is it requires you to operate at the highest level of preparedness. … This is what I’ve done my entire life. This goes all the way back to grade school for me.”

According to the AP via Yahoo News, Bernstein has an unorthodox way of preparing for cases — memorizing the key points of every brief read to him by an aide.

While Bernstein is not the first blind judge in American history to serve on a state’s high court (Justice Richard Teitelman in Missouri, and Judge David Tatel in Washington, D.C. precede him), this is remarkable news nonetheless.

In case y0u needed a tale of personal dedication and perseverance amidst of so many overwhelmingly negative year-in-review pieces…

Publish date: December 29, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT