GFA 2017 John Dingell Outstanding Public Official Award

Richard Bernstein

Justice Richard Bernstein was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2014, making him the first blind justice. Prior to his term beginning in January of 2015, Bernstein was known as a tireless advocate of disabled rights. During his time as the head of the public service division of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm in Farmington Hills, Michigan, many of Bernstein’s cases set national standards protecting the rights and safety of all citizens, including those with disabilities. He often partnered with the United States Department of Justice and the Paralyzed Veterans of America to enforce safe accessibility for disabled individuals in commercial facilities and public transportation.

 Justice Bernstein was named “Michiganian of the Year” by the Detroit News and one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ “40 Under 40.” He was selected as the 2003-2004 recipient of the Regeana Myrick Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for his dedication to public service and in 2008 he received the John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award from the State Bar of Michigan.

Bernstein graduated from the University of Michigan and earned his juris doctorate from Northwestern University of Law.

In his free time, Justice Bernstein is an avid runner and has completed 18 marathons, including eight New York City marathons, the full Ironman triathlon in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2008, and the 2011 Israman triathlon’s half Ironman in Eilat, Israel.