Duly Noted

Robert P. Young, Jr., elected to second term as Chief Justice

The justices of the Michigan Supreme Court have unanimously elected Robert P. Young, Jr., to a second term as chief justice. The justices choose a chief justice at the beginning of every odd-numbered year.

Young pledged to continue court reforms aimed at improving public service and transparency.  “Performance measurement has been used in the private sector for years, and it can be just as effective in the public sector,” said Young. “We look at factors that affect the public’s experience of the courts – access and fairness, timeliness, cost-effectiveness, and others – and find ways to measure the courts’ performance on each. Those measurements in turn provide very valuable information about how well the courts are functioning and where they can improve.”

Young continued, “It may seem counter-intuitive to say that we can apply measurements to the quality of justice, but in fact it can be done, in no small part by focusing on the public’s ex-
perience. For example, to assess ‘access and fairness,’ courts could ask litigants to answer questions about their experience, including ‘Did the judge hear your side of the story? When you left the courtroom, did you know what to do next?’”

Starting this year, SCAO will begin posting performance measures online, Young said. More information is available at http://www.courts.mi.gov/Administration/admin/op/Pages/

A Detroit native, Young earned both undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University. He began his legal career in 1978 with Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen, & Freeman. In 1992, he joined AAA Michigan as its vice-president, corporate secretary and general counsel.

Governor John Engler appointed Young first served in the Michigan Court of Appeals; in 1999, Governor Engler appointed Young to the Michigan Supreme Court, to which Young was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2010.

Young served as an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School for a number of years. He is the author of “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), and co-editor of ICLE publications Michigan Civil Procedure During Trial, 2d Ed. (1989) and Michigan Civil Procedure (1999).

Young has served on the boards of many charitable business and civic organizations, and served the state on commissions and task forces.