Skubick: MI Supreme Court Chief Justice talks raises, re-election

Michigan

In an unusual move, the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court has announced she is running for re-election even though she would not be on the ballot until 2020.  

In addition, Justice Bridget McCormack is saying it’s long overdue for members of the High Court to get a raise.

Of the three branches of government, the judiciary probably gets the least day to day coverage of its activities but the chief justice is continuing a policy set by former Chief Justice Bob Young.

He raised the public profile of the High Court so it was not unusual for Chief Justice Bridget McCormack to appear on statewide public TV to discuss how the court works.

One thing should would love to change is the current system whereby justices get nominated at a political party convention but then appear on the non-partisan ballot.

She thinks the public confidence in the non-partisan nature of the court would be enhanced if the justices did not have to appear at party conventions.

Skubick: “The picking of judges at a convention you find to be abhorrent?”

Judge McCormack: “I think those are your words. What I said was I believe the public confidence in the branch would improve if they partisanship was reduced in the nominating process.”

She thinks the governor should have the power to appoint the justices.

On the salary front, she reports justices have not had a raise since 2002 and in the case of Justice Marksman…

“Someone like Justice Marksman has been serving since 1998 and he has not had a single raise in that entire period,” said the Chief Justice.

The state legislature will decide if the justices get that raise.

In a surprise announcement, Justice McCormack says she wants eight more years and will run in 2020.

“Yeah, I’m having fun. I have great colleagues and we’re getting a lot done serving the public well, so why not keep doing that for a little while longer.”

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