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Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice McCormack to resign

Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack announced Monday that she will resign by the end of the year, clearing the way for Governor Gretchen Whitmer to name a replacement.

The announcement came as a surprise. McCormack is two years into her second term with six years remaining if she chose to stay. But, in a statement, McCormack said she had fulfilled her goals on the court.

“After a decade, the time has come for me to move on, to let others lead, and to build on a foundation of progress,” McCormack said in a statement released by the court.

McCormack was twice nominated by the Democratic Party to serve on the court. McCormack did not give a specific date for her departure, but said it will not be before November 22nd, which would be two weeks following the statewide elections.

Once Whitmer appoints a replacement, the new justice will have to run in 2024 to serve out the balance of the term. The appointment does not require state Senate confirmation.

Whitmer called McCormack “a phenomenal public servant.”

“Whatever she touched, she made better, and we are grateful for all she has done to serve Michiganders and our state … In the coming months, I will appoint a new justice with Michigan values and an unwavering commitment to the Michigan constitution who can be an arbiter of justice and live up to the great responsibility that comes with the role.”

McCormack has made access to legal services regardless of ability to pay one of her priorities. She was also part of the majority that last week ordered a state elections board to place a petition-initiated abortion rights amendment on the November ballot.

McCormack offered no details on her plans after leaving the court. She has remained on the University of Michigan law faculty while serving on the court. Before her election, McCormack supervised several of UM’s legal clinics and was a founder of the UM Innocence Clinic.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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