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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Behind the scenes, a "surprisingly collegial and high-functioning" Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack.
Bridget Mary McCormack for Justice

In 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court has decided 52 cases, dealt with judicial misconduct, and endured another contentious election cycle.

But despite widespread perception of the court as a politically-driven institution split along ideological lines, things behind the scenes are actually quite “collegial and high-functioning,” according to Justice Bridget Mary McCormack.

McCormack has served on the state’s highest court since 2012. She says that in this last term, the court issued a record number of unanimous opinions—and no cases were decided strictly along partisan lines.

“The media likes to describe our decisions in terms of which party nominated us…but they didn’t have a lot to work with last term,” McCormack said.

Nonetheless, McCormack admits that justices “pay a price for the public perception of our work”—and says it would be better if political parties got out of the state’s judicial nomination process once and for all.

McCormack discussed that issue and shared more behind-the-scenes observations with Stateside. Hear the full conversation below.