Sit down with Chief Justice McCormack

‘Students need to care who they are voting for’

On Monday, Sept. 21, The Torch News Editor Ry Rodriguez had an exclusive interview with the Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack.

The meeting lasted about 30 Minutes on Zoom. Since Justice McCormack currently has open cases, she had to decline on some of the questions that were asked. In the face of the upcoming election she also had to withhold from taking any political stances that could be labeled as partisan.   

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack with the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Photo from Bridget McCormack’s Twitter

Justice McCormack did start off the interview with her condolences to the late-Justice Ginsburg, saying “I did not know her well, but when she came to U of M, I had the privilege to talk to her, and she is just a wonderful woman who focused on human rights and she was a titan in that field.”

I went in with the intent to ask if she has ever thought of becoming a federal judge, even a Supreme Court Justice, but she explained to me earlier in the meeting, “I love the state level, it is where everything is at and where most decisions stay.”

About 70% of the cases laid before the Michigan Supreme court are criminal cases, while the other 30% are civil, like the Governors State of Emergency orders. 

A unique attribute of the Michigan Supreme Court is how the Justices run on a non-partisan ticket. This means that candidates must rely on merit and public image for a chance at an eight-year term on the bench. 

Justice McCormack could not stress this enough, “Please, students need to care who they are voting for, you can look up the people on the ballot before you vote so you can make a decision on who you seem fit it. Especially with the mail in ballots, you get more time to make your decision, but still do your research if you are voting in person.”

When Justice McCormack decided to run in 2012, she ran against an incumbent and got the seat with less than one percent to the runner-up.

“Remember to look at the ballot and see if there is a choose two option, and make sure you fill it out, or there could be one less vote for someone else,” McCormack said. 

In the ballot this year, it is a choose two option with current Chief Justice McCormack, and six other justice hopefuls, “So there is lots of research to be done,” McCormack added. 

Tik Tok from the account @Progressmich talked about this as well. They explained how there are two seats up for the Michigan Supreme Court, and “[justices] appear on the nonpartisan section of the ballot…fill out your entire ballot because even if you vote straight ticket, your straight ticket vote does not apply [to the] nonpartisan section.”

McCormack is from New Jersey and moved to Michigan after accepting a job at the University of Michigan Law program. When the 2012 election came close some of her friends and co-workers thought it would be in McCormack’s best interest if she ran for a seat on Michigan’s Supreme Court.

When McCormack decided to run, it was against an incumbent judge and she won by a slim margin.

“It was not easy, the only easy part was deciding to run, it was like ‘yes I’m running,’ but that’s when everything started to get hard. I cannot run ads about my policies. I just had to show why people should vote for me because of the work I’ve done, but this year I think it is a little easier,” McCormack said.

On the ballot it will show Bridget Mary McCormack’s name with the six other candidates in a vote-two section of the ballot, but something will be different about this section. Under her name it will show Justice of Supreme Court making it easier for people to know she is an incumbent, and more than likely easier for people to choose.

For more information on Chief Justice McCormack’s campaign you can her on Twitter @BridgetMaryMc.