A Michigan Supreme Court justice running for re-election acknowledged Friday that he used the N-word during a private conference with other justices in 2006.
Robert Young Jr. responded after former Justice Elizabeth Weaver gave a speech this week saying he used the racial slur and that it shows why he doesn't deserve another eight-year term on the court.
Young, who is black, told The Associated Press that he used the word during an ``impassioned plea'' to emphasize how someone was being treated ``without rights, without dignity.''
``I'm sorry that I used the term. ... Obviously I was very hot about this. That's why I used the word,'' Young said. ``I remember the heat and the purpose for using it.''
When pressed for details, he couldn't recall the case.
Young said Weaver's actions were an ``outrage.''
``This is despicable. Justice Weaver hasn't been called (the N-word) or been treated like one, but she finds it politically expedient to use it politically,'' Young said. ``All of my family has experienced it including me.''
In her speech in Traverse City, Weaver said Young used the slur in the plural form and was referring to a judicial candidate. She read from a May 2006 memo that she wrote and sent to all justices expressing disgust at Young's remarks and other ``unprofessional'' incidents.
``Perhaps everyone should imagine that the court's conferences are being televised,'' Weaver said. ``The public would be appalled at how the court's business is often conducted.''
She also said that in April 2006 Young suggested to another justice that he use the phrase, ``you ignorant slut,'' when addressing the State Appellate Defender Commission. It was a phrase used years ago in a popular ``Saturday Night Live'' skit.
Young told the AP he couldn't recall saying that.
Weaver, a moderate Republican, and Young, a conservative Republican, regularly clashed on the court. She quit in August, allowing Gov. Jennifer Granholm to appoint a replacement that put the court in a solid 4-3 Democratic majority.
Weaver's speech and memo were posted on www.delayedjustice.com. Reached by phone Friday, she said she was golfing and couldn't comment further.
``They're waiting for me,'' she said of other golfers. ``You've got plenty of material.''
Young said Weaver's ``rant'' broke a rule that forbids disclosure of the Supreme Court's private discussions.
``Justice Weaver never respected the conference privilege and that's why we had to promulgate a rule,'' he said.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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