Chief Justice Bridget McCormack helped unite a divided Michigan Supreme Court

Two reporters discuss the legacy of Chief Justice Bridget McCormack’s tenure and what is next for the Michigan Supreme Court.

Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court

This week, Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack of the Michigan Supreme Court announced her decision to step down from the court by the end of the year. She was first elected to the court in 2012, before becoming chief justice in 2019.

Upon her resignation, Governor Gretchen Whitmer will appoint McCormack’s successor. Whitmer’s appointee will serve until voters in 2024 get the opportunity to elect a permanent successor to fulfill the rest of the term through the end of 2028. Justices nominated by the Democratic party currently hold a 4-3 edge in Michigan’s highest court, with Justices Brian K. Zahra and Richard Bernstein up for reelection this November.

“[Justice McCormack] did a lot of work to mend fences and make it a more collegial court.” — Rick Pluta, MPRN political reporter

Listen: What to expect following Justice McCormack’s resignation from the Michigan Supreme Court.



Rick Pluta is a senior state Capitol correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He says Justice McCormack helped bring the court together following stretch of very acrimonious years in the court.

“The Court was considered to be very partisan, very divided,” says Pluta. “She did a lot of work to mend fences and make it a more collegial court.”

Lauren Gibbons is a reporter covering Michigan politics for Bridge Michigan. She says while it is early, the decision on who Governor Whitmer will select to replace McCormack may depend on the results of the November election.

“Kyra Harris-Bolden is the democratic nominee who’s not the incumbent,” says Gibbons. “I would imagine she would be pretty high up on the list if she does not win a seat through the November election.”

Photo Credit: Jake Neher, WDET

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