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Bradley v. Milliken case files, 1962-1976 (majority within 1970-1974)

12 linear feet

The Honorable Stephen J. Roth presided over the landmark school desegregation case Bradley v. Milliken in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division from 1970 until his death in 1974. Roth ruled that the Detroit Public School system was guilty of de jure segregation and ordered the implementation of an inter-district metropolitan busing plan to achieve integration. The case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which declared Roth’s remedy to be impermissible and emphasized local control of schools in its July 1974 decision (Milliken v. Bradley 418 U.S. 717). The case files include trial materials (pleadings, desegregation plans, court transcripts, etc.), appellate materials, opinions and orders, correspondence, and clippings.

The Stephen J. Roth Bradley v. Milliken case files provide original source materials from one of the most contentious and influential desegregation cases in our nation's history. In addition to transcripts, court documents, and rulings, the collection permits scholar and citizen alike the opportunity to better understand Roth's conclusions and rulings with its rich trove of annotated briefs, personal law notes, manuscript drafts of opinions, and personal correspondence. Numerous secondary sources, including news clippings, appellate and Supreme Court decisions, and reports and journals consulted by Roth offer a rich context in which to understand the significance of the case in the history of Michigan and the nation as a whole. The Bradley v. Milliken case files consist of one series divided into seven subseries; the present arrangement reflects the order in which the materials were received from John Runyan, a former law clerk of Judge Roth's. Relevant materials have been added to case files over the years and this accumulation accounts for materials extant from 1975-1976.


Cornelia G. Kennedy papers, 1932-2012 (majority within 1970-1999)

65 linear feet — 1 oversize folder — 4.78 GB (online)

Cornelia G. Kennedy, "First Lady of the Michigan Judiciary," was the first woman appointed to the federal bench in Michigan and the first woman to become a chief judge for a United States District Court. Judge Kennedy was nominated to U.S. District Court in 1970 and to U.S. Circuit Court (Federal Appeals Court) in 1979. Although never actually nominated to the Supreme Court, she was mentioned in connection with vacancies there during the administrations of three different U.S. Presidents. In addition to her court-related duties, the collection reflects Kennedy's service to the Judicial Conference of the U.S. and the Federal Judicial Center as well as the American Bar Association and other professional organizations. The collection also contains materials from Wayne County Circuit Court. This finding aid includes a Summary Contents List and expanded Scope and Content Note to provide a brief summary of the Federal Court System's structure and history as well as notes on some of the organizations comprising the context of a legal career that spanned more than half a century.

The Cornelia G. Kennedy papers span Kennedy's career as a judge, beginning with her election to Wayne County Circuit Court (the 3rd Judicial Circuit of Michigan, which includes the City of Detroit) in 1966. The bulk of the collection documents her service as an active federal judge, from the time of her appointment to Federal District Court in 1970 through her confirmation and service in Federal Appeals Court, until she assumed senior federal judge status in 1999.

The collection is valuable not only in that it documents the professional and some of the private life of a federal judge who achieved many 'firsts' as a woman but also for the collection's contribution to an understanding of the federal court system and the evolution of judicial ethical standards and practices, especially with respect to financial disclosure, confidentiality, and conflicts of interest.

To some extent, the history of information and communications technology during the period is also represented in the collection through its examples of different correspondence media in different eras and through materials pertaining to the advent of computer-aided legal research in court libraries and the use of new technologies in federal courtrooms.

Inevitably, Judge Kennedy's long family history in the practice of law coincided with significant milestones in American history and in the development of judicial administration organizations and policy. Kennedy's father had graduated from law school and begun his legal career with World War I on the horizon. Kennedy graduated from law school as the national economy was transforming itself after World War II, and as the federal court system was beginning a new era in judicial practice and in judicial review of administration.

Description of Series Content

This collection is divided into ten series: Personal and Biographical; Correspondence; Speeches and Writings; Wayne County Circuit Court; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan; U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit; Judicial Conference of the United States; Federal Judicial Center; American Bar Association; and Other Professional Organizations and Meetings.

Of necessity, some series include materials of multiple formats, located together primarily with regard to conceptual content rather than format and some types of materials are found in multiple series. For example, correspondence can be found not only in the Correspondence series but also within court-related series to the extent that it relates to matters addressed there.

Throughout the collection, Judge Kennedy's own phrasing is used whenever possible to describe file folder contents. Some examples of her original file folders of administrative papers and office files also contain handwritten notes and have been retained in the collection to provide additional information to the researcher. These original folder labels and notations also help to illustrate the use of different terminology in different time frames.


Donald A. Johnston papers, 1979-2012 (majority within 1989-2012)

12.5 linear feet

Records of the professional career and judicial rulings of Donald A. Johnston III, judge on Michigan's 17th Circuit Court and former judge on the state's 61st District Court. Includes summaries of cases brought before Johnston for sentencing in the circuit court, the judge's notes on sentences levied in each case, files related to appellate court proceedings, and correspondence.

The Donald A. Johnston papers document extensively criminal court proceedings in Kent County, particularly between 1989 and 2012. A substantial breadth of materials pertaining to trials brought before Johnston for more than twenty years offer insight into crime rates, criminal law, and the nature of sentences levied against convicted persons in the greater Grand Rapids area. Documents in the Johnston files also follow the progress of trials later referred to appellate courts in Michigan, including both the Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court, as well as sentences with which Johnston disagreed. Finally, Johnston's correspondence captures the interactions of the judge with legal professionals and the public at large.


Jonathan W. Bulkley papers, 1957-2015 (majority within 1978-2011)

87 linear feet — 1 oversize folder — 8 tubes — 8.79 GB (online) — 1 oversize box

Jonathan W. Bulkley (1938-2019) was the University of Michigan's Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Peter M. Wege Endowed Professor Emeritus of Sustainable Systems in the School of Natural Resources and Environment (now the School for Environment and Sustainability). Bulkley's expertise in water resource management and water policy was sought in numerous lawsuits over the course of his career, most notably as special master (1978-1979) and monitor (1979-2009) in several cases regarding the failure of various Michigan organizations to comply with iterations of the 1972 Clean Water Act. He was also a member of the Ann Arbor, Mich. Housing Commission and served as its president in 1974-1976. This collection primarily documents Bulkley's legal and other professional activities and includes architectural drawings, clippings, correspondence, court proceedings and testimony, reports, legal documents, committee and meeting files, operating logs, notes, publications, and photographs. A small portion of records relates to Bulkley's work on the Ann Arbor Housing Commission. These records include records of meetings, policy statements, and staff materials documenting the work of the commission.

The Jonathan W. Bulkley papers primarily document Bulkley's involvement in several legal cases, including the 1977 lawsuit United States v. The City of Detroit (case number 77-71100) and the 1987 lawsuitU.S. v. Wayne County (case number 87-70992), both presided over by Judge John Feikens. These lawsuits concerned the failure of both the City of Detroit and Wayne County's wastewater treatment plants to adhere to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and Clean Water Act. Judge Feikens was lauded for his handling of these cases, as he focused on negotiation and settlement, rather than unilateral judgement; the cases were resolved through complex consent judgements that were amended over time.

This collection also documents Bulkley's involvement in the Ann Arbor Housing Commission as well as various other academic and professional work he undertook throughout his career. Examples include his work in various smaller lawsuits, including one brought against the City of Toledo, Ohio by the U.S. (civil action number 3:91:CV7646), his involvement in the controversy over the removal of the Huron River's Argo Dam, and his work with the Michigan Environmental Science Board (MESB).

Materials in this collection include correspondence, maps, memos, reports, articles and clippings, notes, papers, court proceedings, testimony, and other legal materials, committee and meeting files, operating logs, course notes, architectural drawings, subject files, project plans, and photographs.

Researchers should note that due to the complex and intermingled nature of the various legal cases, some materials relating to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) may be found in the Rouge River Watershed (RRW) series, and vice versa. When possible, materials have been kept in Bulkley's original groupings, and have been arranged in a rough chronological order.


Talbot Smith papers, 1918-1978

46.3 linear feet

Lawyer, teacher, jurist, justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the U.S. Court of Appeals. Correspondence, speeches, case files, and research materials; also photographs.

The papers of Talbot Smith have been divided into the following series: Personal and early career material, Judicial career, Case files and related, Research and topical Files, and Other materials.


United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan oral histories, 1992-2013

948 MB (online)

Oral history project created by the Historical Society for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, an organization dedicated to promoting the history of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Contains digital files of transcripts and chronologies created from the project.

The collection is composed of oral histories surrounding the Historical Society for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The collection is organized in one series of materials from the Federal Court Oral History Project. The collection is made up of digital files containing interview transcripts and chronologies which outline the educational and professional accomplishments of the project participants.

There are a greater number of transcripts than chronologies as the collection does not include a chronlogies for every participant interviewed.