Bernstein makes history as first blind justice of state supreme court

State history will be made next week when Michigan's first blind justice of the state supreme court takes his seat.

Richard Bernstein was sworn in last week and he's talking about how he will prepare for all the cases that come before the state's high court. 

Justice Bernstein has been blind since birth, but that does not hold him back.

For the past 15 years he has been a household name due to his father's law firm commercials for the Sam Bernstein Law Firm.

Bernstein ran unsuccessfully for attorney general four years ago, but this time he was swept into office.

Now that he is on the bench and since he can't read - how does he prepare for the cases?

Instead of transferring everything into braille, Bernstein will listen as readers fill him in.

"We have 10 cases that are up for oral argument for January's call," Bernstein said. "I have already internalized and memorized those cases. For the past six or seven weeks I have been focusing on it."

He said that was the method he used for the family business - but it is hard work. 

"As a blind person, you do realize that the level of work is greater, the level of hours are going to be greater, the intensity is going to be greater," Bernstein said. "It's one of those situations where you get through it. You push forward. There's a deadline and you meet it." 

He hopes to inspire other companies to hire the blind. 

"If we make modest accommodations we can allow for people with disabilities to have the opportunity to work with us," Bernstein said. "And they will find you will have the most loyal, hard-working, energetic and resilient people you can possibly have."

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