Supreme Court Justice Cavanagh to be saluted Nov. 13 in Detroit


 Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Cavanagh will be honored for his exemplary service on the bench at the Michigan Irish American Chamber of Commerce second annual gala on Thursday, Nov. 13. The event, featuring Hon. James L. Ryan as master of ceremonies, will take place at the Gaelic League, 2068 Michigan Ave. in Detroit. Cocktails start at 5:30 p.m. with dinner catered by Slows Bar-B-Q at 6 o’clock followed by a presentation at 7. Tickets are $30 per person and only 200 are available for purchase.

Justice Cavanagh received a bachelor's degree from the University of Detroit in 1962 and his law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law in 1966. He began his career as a law clerk for the Michigan Court of Appeals. In 1967, he was hired as an assistant city attorney for the City of Lansing and subsequently was appointed as Lansing City Attorney, serving until 1969. He then became a partner in the Lansing law firm of Farhat, Burns and Story, and in 1972, he was elected judge of the 54-A District Court and served from 1973-75.

Justice Cavanagh was elected to the Michigan Court of Appeals, where he served from 1975-82, the youngest person ever elected to that position. He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1982 and was re-elected in 1990, 1998, and 2006. He served as Chief Justice from 1991-95. The justice’s current term expires Jan. 1, 2015. 

“We’re truly thrilled to be honoring Justice Cavanagh at our second annual gala,” says David O’Connor, president of the Michigan Irish American Chamber of Commerce. “His service has been exemplary and he will be missed on the bench in 2015. We’re also very happy to have Honorable James L. Ryan as our master of ceremonies. We’re expecting a large crowd and great food from Slows.

“[Justice] Cavanagh and [Justice] Ryan served together on the Supreme Court and are very good friends. The evening will be humorous as they share stories and jokes regarding their experiences and friendship. The MIACC is steadily growing and we deliver great events for our members, including high profile guest speakers like Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Henderson, who headlined the inaugural gala in 2013 and shared his thoughts about Mayor (Mike) Duggan and the future direction of Detroit.”

In 1975, Governor William G. Milliken appointed Judge Ryan to the Michigan Supreme Court where he served as the 89th justice until his appointment in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He assumed senior status in 2000 and served as a senior judge until his retirement in Sept. 2010.

“It presents people in the Irish community in a good light to honor the many contributions that Judge Cavanagh made to Michigan jurisprudence,” says Ryan.

The Michigan Irish American Chamber of Commerce is an organization of individuals, business people and other community members working together to advance the business, culture, education and civic welfare of the citizens of Michigan who are of Irish descent.

For more information on the gala and tribute, call 231-590-0003 or visit