Michigan’s current Supreme Court is the most LGBT Un-friendly in the nation. ON Nov. 6 voters can change the composition of the court to make it more fair, more accountable and one which all Michiganders can be proud.
The current court ruled to strip same-sex partners of public employees of health insurance, making Michigan the most restrictive state in the nation in its definition of the same-sex marriage ban. This court has consistently ruled again workers’ rights, women’s right and educational fairness, to the detriment of the state and its citizens. We strongly encourage voters to vote for these three candidates for Michigan Supreme Court in the non-partisan section of your ballot:
“I’m optimistic and also I believe in myself enough to know that I will be a breath of fresh air and a force for good,” said Bridget McCormack, the Dean of Clinical Affairs at the University of Michigan Law School, and candidate for Michigan Supreme Court Justice.
In 1998, she joined the faculty at University of Michigan Law School where she created the school’s practical education curriculum that gives law students “hands-on” experience helping clients in a courtroom. Under her leadership, the program has expanded to include clinics dedicated to children’s health, low-income taxpayers, the wrongfully accused and business entrepreneurs.
“These experiences have taught me what works in our legal system and what doesn’t,” said McCormack. “In my work, I’ve been representing different groups of people that otherwise don’t have access to lawyers. I have yet to represent a client who has paid me. What they all have in common is a hard time and access to justice.”
Connie Marie Kelley
“I think the courts should be above the politics of the day. The public has a lack of confidence that the court is deciding cases based on the law. I think it’s really important for judges to hear both sides of the case, to have a good understanding of the law, and to apply the law to the facts that they hear. We have to follow the law and do what’s right. It takes the right people to do it,” said Connie Kelly, a candidate for Michigan Supreme Court Justice .
As a lawyer for 27 years prior to becoming a family law judge in the 3rd Circuit Court in 2008, Kelley represented a vast array of clients including victims of domestic violence, those who experienced discrimination and workers who were treated unfairly by their employers. She shared with BTL her experience with LGBT people includes watching her cousin die from AIDS in the 1990’s when the public attitude was a lot different. She also proudly hired Stonewall Bar Association Member Katie Strickfaden as the Court Administrator for the Domestic Violence Court.
Michigan citizens have the opportunity to do something monumental in Nov. by electing the first African-American woman to the Supreme Court. Judge Shelia Johnson has made history before, when she was elected in 2002 to serve as the first African-American female judge in Oakland County’s 46th District Court.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve the community and the degree of confidence that people put in me. I make a big impact on people’s lives and it’s fulfilling,” said Johnson, who is running to fill the partial two year term of former Justice Maura Corrigan, who left the bench to lead the Michigan Department of Human Services.
Johnson spearheaded the establishment of a “Court In Schools” program where she holds actual court sessions at local high schools and middle schools with the goal of deterring youth from criminal behavior and inspiring them toward positive career choices.