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Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein returns to Lansing, continues the fight for disability rights

Posted at 3:59 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 17:48:25-04

(WXYZ) — Returning to in-person courtroom work is something Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein says he’s been very eager to do. Since Monday, he’s been back in Lansing and able to reflect on the past year.

“It’s interesting Simon, I have to say I love being back,” said Justice Richard Bernstein with Michigan Supreme Court.

It's been an incredible journey for State Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein, who's become the face of a global campaign to expand opportunities and rights for people with disabilities.

“As we were in Israel and working on the Abraham Accords, a war actually broke out,” Bernstein said. "There were thousands of missiles send to where I was."

Since returning to Lansing to hear cases Monday, he says he's often been asked what it was like to fight for disability during the last year, in what became a war zone in the Middle East.

“You would have to sleep in the bomb shelter. To give you an idea of what it’s like,” Bernstein said.

Through it all, he says he's proud to have made a difference in helping others overcome struggles while staying ahead of his daily court work. Back on the bench in Lansing, the justice treasures his experiences and says he's honored to have received awards from several countries he's helped.

“I believed in this mission so heartedly. The Jerusalem Post pointed out in many ways I had become the face of hope,” he said.

That said, since returning home safely, Bernstein tells 7 Action News he's looking forward to fewer Zooms and more of an in-person experience like before.

“When you’re in person, it allows you to have that connection with folks that’s absolutely critical,” Bernstein said. “It’s time for us to come together, and the fact we’ve been isolated for so long has to come to an end.”

Justice Bernstein remains committed to his advocacy for disability rights, a passion he says remains a huge part of his life.