By Paul Egan
Former Chief Justice Robert Young, Jr. announced Wednesday he is retiring from the Michigan Supreme Court and will step down by the end of April to return to his former law firm, Dickinson Wright in Detroit.
"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 news release.
"I am proud of what I have accomplished, especially while serving as chief justice," Young, 66, said. "At the time I joined the court, it was marked by acrimony. 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 served six years as chief justice until early this year. During that time, he said the court focused on improving service to the public by measuring performance, streamlining processes, and using technology to cut costs and improve services.
"I will be returning to the firm that opened its arms to me 30 years ago," Young said. "I look forward to focusing on an appellate practice at Dickinson Wright and helping grow this part of the firm."
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will be naming Young's replacement to the court, where Republican-nominated justices hold a 5-2 majority.
Snyder said Young "helped make the court system more affordable and more accessible for all Michiganders," and "was a leader in the formation of a specialty court system that has helped address the cause of people's crimes to prevent future offenses."
Young may have hinted at his pending decision in a December interview with the Free Press -- his last interview as chief justice.
Asked about the possibility of him and other current justices leaving the court for other jobs, Young noted that several former Michigan justices left the court to return to the private sector.
"I've been 21 years a public servant," he said. "If somebody offered me a packet of money to do something exciting, I would at least look at it."
Chief Justice Stephen Markman said he's worked more than 20 years with Young, and "there is no justice who has brought a greater intellect, work ethic, and conscientious commitment to his judicial responsibilities than Bob Young."
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