U.S. Supreme Court Justice/Michigan governor, other impressive Irish people enter Hall of Fame



By Cynthia Price

Little-known, yet very important, fact: An Irish gentleman named Frank Murphy is the only person to have been both the Governor of Michigan and a justice of the United States Supreme Court.

The facts that Murphy was also the Mayor of Detroit, the U.S. Attorney General, and the last Governor General of the Philippines are also little-known, but not any longer to the people of the Michigan Irish Hall of Fame.

During the annual induction ceremony at the Michigan Irish Music Festival at Heritage Landing, James H. Neal, a lawyer who nominated Justice Murphy, gave a certificate to Lori Murawske, Director of the Frank Murphy Memorial Museum in Harbor Beach, who accepted because Justice Murphy left no descendants.

Neal emphasized that Justice Murphy had a strong moral character who stuck with his opinions even when unpopular. Most notably, Murphy wrote a dissent in Korematsu v. United States, the case where the U.S. government prosecuted a young Japanese-American, Fred Korematsu, for failing to show up to be “relocated”?during World War II. He called the internment “legalization of racism” the government’s wartime internment of Japanese-American residents. (Korematsu’s conviction was voided in 1983.)

He also wrote a dissent in the 1944 case Wolf v. Colorado, opposing the decision that illegally-seized criminal evidence was admissible in state courts though not in federal, and was vin-
dicated when a 1961 court overruled.

Another little-known fact: Michigan is the only state with counties named directly after counties in Ireland: Antrim, Clare, Emmett, Roscommon and Wexford, according to Judge Neil Mullally (retired from the 14th Circuit Court in Muskegon).

That is important in part because two other Irish Hall of Fame inductees, Barry and Tim McGuire (father and son respectively), were both long-term executive directors of the Michigan Association of Counties. Barry McGuire is deceased, but his daughter accepted for him, tears in her eyes.

Judge Mullally has devoted so much time and thought to the Museum, as well as to Irish culture as a whole. At the breakfast held for the honorees at Hennessey’s Restaurant, Mullally admitted, astonished, that he had not heard of Frank Murphy before his nomination.

Others inducted included well-known Irish fiddler Mick Gavin; Roger Schlosser, Director of the Irish Studies Program at Grand Rapids Community College, who spoke fondly of taking student groups to Ireland for study; Patrick J. Johnson, the Executive Director of the Michigan Irish American Chamber of Commerce; Brother James Boynton of the Jesuits, a teacher, mentor and accomplished fiddler player in his own right; and Nora Ann Cassidy, who has served the Irish Detroit community for decades and urged everyone of Irish heritage to apply for dual citizenship in the U.S. and Ireland.

People at both the breakfast and the induction expressed strong feelings for the free nation of Ireland and exhibited that most Irish of human qualities: humor.