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Country, Constitution, & System Of Government Focus Of Today's U-M Bicentenial Event Conversation

Jan 30, 2017

Credit Lisa Barry

A US Supreme Court Justice and a judge from Germany's highest court kicked off the University of Michigan's year-long bicentennial celebration.


The event began with University of Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel presenting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor with an honorary U of M degree: Doctor of Laws.

"This is one of those moments I get to remember for my life too," Schlissel said.

Credit Lisa Barry

The conversation, intended to be about the future of the University community with the US Supreme Court Justice and a Justice from Germany's highest court, Susanne Baer, got underway.

About halfway through, Justice Sotomoyor left her seat on the stage and engaged with students sitting behind her then went out into the audience shaking hands and posing for pictures, while still answering questions and engaging in the conversation at the same time.

Credit Lisa Barry

Justice Sotomayor spoke of a shared love for country, constitution, and our system of government and said, in an ideal society, people are not judged by the color of skin, but the richness of their character.

She said the US supreme court is in need of more diversity.

"No lawyers with family law, matrimonial law, property law, I can go on and on of the areas of professional development that we're missing on the bench," Sotomayor said.

Both Justice Sotomayor and Bear suggested that everyone should read the Constitution and be better citizens.

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— Lisa Barry is a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU. Contact her at 734.487.3363, on twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her lbarryma@emich.edu