State Bar of Michigan
home member area contact us

michigan legal milestones

milestone home




Legal Milestone List

  The Great Ferris Fire
  Berrien County Courthouse
  Elloitt-Larsen Civil Rights Act
  Milliken v. Bradley
  Elk, Oil, and the Environment
  Whisper to Rallying Cry
  Poletown & Eminent Domain
  Prentiss M. Brown
  Otis Milton Smith
  Freedom Road
  President Gerald R. Ford
  Mary Coleman
  Committee of One
  Milo Radulovich
  Striking Racial Covenants
  Murphy's Dissent
  Conveying Michigan
  Ending Jim Crow
  Pond's Defense
  Mount Clemens Pottery
  Emelia Schaub
  Rose of Aberlone
  Protecting the Impaired
  Laughing Whitefish
  The Uninvited Ear
  The King's Grant
  Improving Justice
  One Person—One Vote
  Eva Belles' Vote
  Constitutional Convention
  Ten Hours or No Sawdust
  Access to Public Water
  Augustus Woodward
  Sojourner Truth
  Justice William Fletcher
  Roosevelt-Newett Trial
  Cooley Law Office
  Baseball Reserve Clause
  Ossian Sweet Trial

13. Improving Justice

The idea for the American Judicature Society was born in Manistee during a boat ride on Lake Michigan shared by founder Herbert Harley and benefactor Charles Ruggles on a hot summer day. Dedicated and placed on a boulder in a corner of the Manistee City Marina on River Street in downtown Manistee on May 30, 1991.

Complete Text on Milestone Marker

Improving Justice

One lazy summer day in 1911, Manistee residents Herbert Harley and Charles Ruggles discussed reform of the American justice system while floating in a skiff on Lake Michigan near here. That conversation led to the birth of the American Judicature Society, a national organization of more than 20,000 citizens—judges, lawyers, and non-lawyers—dedicated to improving the nation's justice system.

Ruggles was a successful lumberman who could neither read nor write, but had an innate sense of justice. Harley was a lawyer, editor, and reformer who helped make Manistee one of the first cities in the nation to adopt the city manager system. Ruggles provided the funding, while Harley garnered nationwide support for the American Judicature Society, established in Chicago in 1913.

Today, through its conferences, publications, research, and other programs, AJS works to assure an independent, responsive, and highly ethical judiciary, and exercises a profound and positive influence on the administration of justice in the federal courts and the courts of all 50 states.

Every American is a beneficiary of the legacy of that long ago boat ride by two Manistee residents.

Placed by the State Bar of Michigan and the Manistee County Bar Association, 1991.



follow us
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on LinkedIn Follow Us on Twitter Follow the SBM Blog


©Copyright 2015

website links
Contact Us
Site Map
Website Privacy Statement PDF
Staff Links

SBM on the Mapcontact information
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012
Phone: (517) 346-6300
Toll Free: (800) 968-1442
Fax: (517) 482-6248