Turn Lansing upside down with your vote for Supreme Court justices

When the Legislature passes bad laws--as they have for the past 20 months--and politics trumps justice, it’s the Michigan Supreme Court who ultimately decides what's fair.

That's why it's important to vote for Supreme Court justices who will rely on the law--not politics to make their decisions.

MEA is recommending three candidates who stake their reputation on fairness for the Michigan Supreme Court: Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Connie Marie Kelley, Oakland County Judge Sheila Johnson and University of Michigan law professor Bridget Mary McCormack. All three were chosen for their work in protecting Michigan families and standing up to corporate special interests--something their opponents have failed to do.

Currently, the Supreme Court is made up of four justices nominated by Republicans and three nominated by Democrats. Three seats are up in the November election -- two Republican and one Democrat, who is retiring.

Kelley and McCormack will be facing incumbent Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman and Oakland Circuit Court Judge Colleen O'Brien for eight-year terms. Johnson will face sitting Justice Brian Zahra who was originally appointed by Gov. Snyder to fill a vacancy. If elected, she will complete a term that ends in 2014.

The election of Supreme Court justices is technically a non-partisan race and will appear at the end of the Nov. 6 ballot -- yet another reason for MEA members to vote from the bottom of the ballot up in our efforts to turn Lansing upside down.

Judge Connie Marie Kelley has 27 years as a practicing attorney to support her candidacy as a Supreme Court justice. In Wayne County Circuit Court, Kelley has served in the Family division, ruling over cases involving divorce, custody and child support. She also sits in Domestic Violence Specialty Court and established a mentoring program for at-risk girls at Cody High School in Detroit.

Kelley believes the Supreme Court has forgotten that fair treatment under the law is entitled to all citizens. She is especially critical of the Court’s handling of fairness in the workplace issues. 

Bridget Mary McCormack has extensive experience with the law and the courts that will serve her and our state well on the Supreme Court. At the University of Michigan Law School, she is the associate dean of clinical affairs, working in such areas as domestic violence litigation and pediatric health advocacy. The clinics offer access to legal services to clients who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

McCormack is committed to the rule of law and expects to carry that philosophy to the Supreme Court if elected. She holds firmly to the idea that fairness trumps power.

Judge Johnson has worked as both a trial judge and in private practice as a lawyer. She has strong ties to the community and established a "Court in Schools" program where she conducts court sessions at local middle and high schools. Her goal is to deter students from criminal behavior and encourage them to pursue positive careers. She is also a community partner with Southfield Public Schools.

Johnson is a champion of individual rights--something she believes the current Supreme Court justices have lost sight of. "The Court has misplaced priorities. It has put campaign donors and special interests first and has continually put children and families at a distance second if not last."

If lawmakers continue their anti-worker agenda, we’ll need a Supreme Court that understands being fair is more important than being powerful. If the Supreme Court continues to make decisions about our future, we need to support Kelley, McCormack and Johnson for the Supreme Court.

Turn Lansing upside down on Nov. 6 -- vote from the bottom up.