Justice Kelly currently serves as Chair of the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice. In January 2015, Governor Rick Snyder appointed Justice Kelly as Chair of the Committee for a term that expires Dec. 31, 2017. She is also a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice representing Jurisdiction I, which includes Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In this capacity she plays an important role in conveying perspectives on juvenile justice issues to the President, Members of Congress, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Administrator.
Recently, as Co-Chair of the Michigan Race Equity Coalition, she examined the need for the juvenile justice and foster care systems to improve policies and racial disparities in these systems through accurate and meaningful data. Justice Kelly has also served as Chairperson of numerous other statewide committees, primarily focused on child welfare and family matters, and has received awards for her work in child welfare issues.
During her tenure with the Supreme Court, she served as the court's liaison for child welfare and juvenile justice matters, providing leadership and expertise on these issues on behalf of the court to the legislature and executive branches and other stakeholders. She also served as the Supreme Court’s administrative liaison for all veterans' courts and treatment and drug courts throughout the state. Prior to joining the Michigan Supreme Court, she served as Chief Judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court for three terms, where she remains the only woman in history to hold the position. During her time as Chief Judge, the Family Division of the court doubled in size, and she led efforts to improve the racial diversity of the jury system.
She serves as a Director of the Board of Vista Maria, an organization that serves at-risk girls, young women involved in human trafficking, and youth in child protection or juvenile justice systems. She has also taught Children and the Law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy Law School and has served as an advisor to numerous non-profit organizations.
Justice Kelly graduated from the Notre Dame Law School (1987), where she was a Thomas J. White Center Government Scholar and the Managing Editor of the Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy. She graduated with honors from the University of Michigan-Dearborn (1984), where she majored in Political Science and History.