Voters could shift the balance on the Michigan Supreme Court on Election Day. There are currently five Republican-backed justices and two supported by the Democratic Party. Two seats currently held by Republican nominees are on this year's statewide ballot.
As part of Michigan Radio’s election coverage, Morning Edition is featuring interviews with candidates for the Supreme Court, including Justice Elizabeth Clement.
Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Clement to the Michigan Supreme Court in November 2017. Prior to serving on the court, she joined the Snyder administration in 2011. In 2016, she became Governor Snyder’s chief legal counsel after a staff reorganization during the Flint water crisis.
Earlier this year the court heard a case about the right to openly carry guns in schools. Some districts have policies of banning guns on school property. Opponents said school districts can’t write policies that violate state law. The court ruled in favor of the schools with a divided majority of justices – some supported by Republicans and some by Democrats. Clement sided with the majority in that case.
"That was a very easy case, in my opinion. The question was not a second amendment issue," she says. "It was a preemption case. There is state statute that deals with this very issue of which local units of government cannot pass ordinances that limit open carry in locations. School districts were not included in that list."
Clement was nominated by the Republican Party for the upcoming election. She broke from the conservative justices in a case that allowed a redistricting measure to be added to the November election ballot. She says politics don't factor into her decisions.
"I took an oath to the constitution of the state of Michigan, and the constitution of the United States," she says. "Not to a political party. Not to any special interest groups. That’s what I stand for."
You can hear the complete interview by pressing the play button above. You can find links to our earlier candidate interviews below.