Michigan Declares Juneteenth an Official Court Holiday
One year after Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday by President Joe Biden, it will become an official statewide court holiday here in Michigan.
The Michigan Supreme Court made the declaration on Wednesday (6/1), noting that June 19th will be observed as an official court holiday each year.
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1985, the day when Union soldiers declared freedom for enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas. The news came two months after the Confederacy surrendered and about two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freed people who were slaves here in the United States.
Tom Boyd is a state court administrator here in Michigan.
“Juneteenth is an event of profound importance in the history of our nation, and mandatory observance of this holiday by courts statewide sends a message that Michigan’s judiciary values the life experiences of all who seek justice,” Boyd said.
Not Everyone is in Agreement
Two Republican justices on the Michigan Supreme Court disagreed with making Juneteenth the court's 13th holiday.
Justice Brian Zahra and Justice and Justice David Viviano disagreed with the court's decision.
“This is far more than observed by the private sector,” Zahra said. “I believe as servants of the people we owe it to them to work diligently and regularly to provide good public service.”
“Our courts handle matters that intimately affect the lives of Michigan’s residents," Viviano noted. "Because the (Supreme Court) is not acting as a responsible steward of our court system, I respectfully dissent.”
Who Will Observe Juneteenth in Michigan
It's important to note that today's declaration only affects Michigan's court system, which will close in observance of Juneteenth. The decision does not affect those who work in the private sector who may, or may not be given the day off to observe the holiday.
Because June 19 falls on a Sunday this year, Michigan courts will be closed on Monday, June 20 in observance of Juneteenth.