• Megan Cavanagh

2018 Michigan Midterm LGBTQ Analysis: State Supreme Court

BTL Staff
By | 2018-11-14T16:18:33-04:00 November 14th, 2018|Election 2018, Michigan, News|

The current makeup of the seven-member court is five Republicans and two Democrats. Two Republicans were up for re-election Tuesday: Kurtis Wilder, who was appointed to the Court in 2017 by Gov. Rick Snyder; and Elizabeth Clement, who was also appointed in 2017 by Snyder. Wilder lost his seat to Democrat Megan Cavanagh. The other Democrat in the running, Samuel Bagenstos, came in third place while candidates from the third parties of Libertarians and Natural law came in fifth and sixth respectively.
For Democrats, the biggest surprise in this race was the surge that put Clement back on the bench despite being spurned by the state GOP.
Republicans were miffed with Clement for two specific rulings: She agreed that schools could ban guns on their grounds, and she concurred that the citizen initiative to create an independent commission to draw legislative districts. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce and other conservative stalwarts fought the liberal push for the ballot question all the way to the state supreme court. They argued the initiative amended too many parts of the state constitution and was therefore unconstitutional. Clement, however, joined the majority in ruling against the Chamber and its allies. That resulted in the proposal landing on the ballot Tuesday — where it passed.
Republicans were pushing the Libertarian candidate over Clement in the lead up to the election and she did not appear on state party-supported mailings. But the split appears to have taken out Wilder instead of Clement.
In addition, the court will now sit with a three to three split (with Cavanaugh joining Democrats Bridget McCormack and Richard Bernstein) and Clement will become a swing vote. In a statement to the Detroit Free Press, she said voters showed they supported an independent judiciary and that likely won’t sit well with ideological Republicans who want to see more judicial restraint at the top court.
Nationally it is important to note the approval of conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. With his appointment, it is possible the watershed decision Roe v. Wade could be overturned, and could shift the decision of whether or not abortion will remain legal in the states. If this happens, Michigan’s Supreme Court will have a key role in any such action locally.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.