Michigan Supreme Court chief justice joining non-profit after announcing resignation

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Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 7:12 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) – Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack announced she is going to a legal non-profit after announcing her resignation from the high court.

“It makes sense that she is going to step down by the end of the year,” said Kyla Stepp, an assistant professor of political science and the pre-law advisor at Central Michigan University said. “Certainly, depending on what happens in the midterm election, that way of course Gov. Whitmer can name her replacement.”

Stepp is talking about Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, who is resigning from her position by the end of the year.

McCormack will be the president and chief executive of the American Arbitration Association’s International Centre for Dispute Resolution in February.

Stepp tells why Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gets to decide who fills McCormack’s seat on the bench.

“We elect our judges here in Michigan,” Stepp said. “Supreme court justices are no exception to that. They serve eight-year terms and then they have to run for re-election up until the age of 70. At which point they can’t run for re-election anymore. However, when there’s a vacancy between elections, the governor has the opportunity to name a replacement. Someone to kind of fill in in an terim role until the next general election comes around.”

Gov. Whitmer is also up for re-election this year. But Stepp says even if Whitmer is defeated by Republican nominee Tudor Dixon in November, it will be Whitmer’s call on a new Michigan Supreme Court justice as long as McCormack resigns before noon Jan. 1.

“She’ll get to appoint someone whether she’s re-elected or not as long as she does it before the end of her term. So, it really won’t affect the outcome of who the new justice will be. But it certainly could affect the next time a justice steps down and there needs to be a replacement. Our next governor will obviously get to be the one to replace any future justices stepping down.”

McCormack has been on the state Supreme Court for nearly 10 years, which includes four years as chief justice.