After a planned trip to Israel, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein has lived in Dubai for the past few months, the Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
Bernstein told the publication that he was quarantined for two weeks en route to Israel in January, but Israel closed its borders and chose to stay rather than return to Michigan.
With the state’s supreme court meeting practically amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 46-year-old was still able to contact the court, got vaccinated and lectured on disability rights, the Post reported.
“I had already started getting close to so many incredible people here and decided to stay back,” Bernstein told the publication. “As a blind person, it is very difficult to travel and do things by yourself. But the nice thing about this country is that you are never alone. So many people have helped me here that I know this area like the back of my hand. “
Bernstein, who grew up in Michigan and is considered the first blind judge on the country’s Supreme Court, was elected to the court in November 2014.
He is known for his recitation and memorization of legal texts. And during the pandemic, the Democrat has spoken out against restricting Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s powers. He was not on the side of Republican-nominated colleagues in a 4-3 decision to repeal the emergency powers of the 1945 Governors Act.
Bernstein was an advocate for others with disabilities. After graduating from Northwestern University Law School, he joined the law firm run by his father, Sam, and headed a department that handled litigation related to pro bono disability rights valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In 2012, he was hit by a speeding cyclist while preparing for his 18th New York Marathon in Central Park, Manhattan. He stayed in the hospital for 10 weeks with a broken pelvis and other injuries.
In 2015 he toured the state with the then Lt. Governor Brian Calley in support of the recruitment of people with disabilities. Their tour followed an executive order from the then government. Rick Snyder directs the state government to set the example and guide companies to make adjustments that are tailored to their particular settings.