Michigan Supreme Court Race Heats up

The Current Court Makeup

The Michigan Supreme Court is made up of seven justices who are elected for eight-year terms. Judges technically run for office as people without political affiliation. They are, however, nominated by political parties so their philosophical leanings are usually found to be in line with political viewpoints. Four of the seven current Michigan Supreme Court Justices were nominated by the Republican party while three of the seven were nominated by the Democratic Party. The current 4-3 Republican nominee majority might be in jeopardy this fall in the next elections. The last time that Democratic nominees held a majority on the Michigan Supreme Court came in 2010. If openings on the Michigan Supreme Court become available in the middle of a term for whatever reason, then the governor will appoint a Justice to serve out the remaining time on the term. The Justice will then have to run for election at the end of that term.

Available Seats

There are two seats on the Michigan Supreme Court that are going to be available for this coming election time. One of the seats that is coming available currently belongs to Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack. She is a Democratic nominee who was elected to a full eight-year term back in 2012. She will run as an incumbent justice and her designation on the ballot will state that she is a Justice of the Supreme Court. The other seat that is coming available currently belongs to Justice Stephen Markman. Justice Markman was a nominee of the Republican party and was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by former Michigan governor John Engler in 1999. The reason Justice Markman is not seeking re-election for this term is because of his age. The Michigan Constitution does not allow judges to seek re-election once they have hit the age of 70. If they turn 70 during their term, they are allowed to finish out that term.

What’s Next?

Grand Rapids attorney Elizabeth Welch started her campaign for the Michigan Supreme Court back in December. She will be running aligned with Chief Justice McCormack as Democratic nominees. The Michigan Democratic Party endorsed both Chief Justice McCormack and Welch this past May. Current Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Brock Swartzle has also announced his intention to seek a nomination from the Republican party for the Michigan Supreme Court. Swartzle was appointed to the Court of Appeals by former Michigan governor Rick Snyder back in 2017. Swartzle formerly was the chief of staff for the former Speaker of the House for the Michigan House of Representatives and was general counsel for the Michigan House Republicans. Former St. Clair County Prosecutor Mary Kelly has also announced that she will be seeking a nomination from the Republican party. Kelly shares an almost identical name to former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly, a former Republican nominee who resigned from the Michigan Supreme Court back in 2015 after she decided to return to private practice. The Michigan Republican Party is set to officially select its nominees during the state convention which is scheduled for Aug. 29th. The Republican party is limited to two nominees for the Justice positions just like the Democratic party. There is still time for other candidates to come forward and announce their intention to run and seek nomination from the Republican party.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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