The political makeup of the Michigan Supreme Court could change significantly on Election Day. Two seats are open and two current justices, both nomiated by the Republican Party, are running. Republican-backed justices currently hold a 5 to 2 majority over Democratic nominees.
Morning Edition is featuring interviews with candidates for the court, including Democratic nominee Megan Cavanagh.
Cavanagh is an appellate attorney with a Detroit law firm. She also serves on the state’s Attorney Grievance Commission, which investigates misconduct by lawyers.
In a case about the right to openly carry guns in schools, the state Supreme Court ruled that schools can prohibit guns from their properties. The opponents argued school districts can’t write policies that violate state law. The court ruled in favor of the schools with a divided majority of liberal and conservative justices.
Cavanagh says she’s encouraged that the vote wasn’t decided along political lines.
“I don’t think the court should be a political body,” she says. “I think the majority’s decision, in addition to following the rule of law, was the right decision of not deciding it on the basis that was raised by the parties.”
Her father, Michael Cavanagh, served as a judge on the state Supreme Court until 2015, and her uncle Jerome Cavanagh was the mayor of Detroit in the 1960s.
Cavanagh acknowledges that some people have concerns about political dynasties, but she doesn’t think her personal connections should factor into her candidacy.
“I don’t think the reason to vote for me is because of who my dad is or who my uncle was,” she says. “The reason to vote for me because of who I am."
Cavanagh says her more than 15 years of experience as an attorney and other work with the courts make her qualified to serve as a justice.
You can hear the complete interview by clicking the play button above. You can find all of our candidatesinterviews below.