Michigan judicial elections, 2012

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Judicial Elections
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Elections, 2012
Judicial election dates

The Michigan judicial elections consisted of a primary election on August 7 and the general election on November 6, 2012.

Michigan judicial elections summary, 2012

  Supreme Appellate Trial
Total candidates 7 12 342
Unopposed candidates 0 12 134
Judges re-elected 2 12 185
Judges not re-elected 0 0 4
New judges elected 1 0 36
Partisan or Nonpartisan   Nonpartisan  
Democratic winners 1
Republican winners 2

Supreme Court

Candidates competed for two seats.

CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
RoddisBob Roddis    No2.79%   DefeatedD
McCormackBridget Mary McCormack   ApprovedANo23.59%   ApprovedA
O'BrienColleen O'Brien    No21.42%   DefeatedD
KelleyConnie Marie Kelley    No21.61%   DefeatedD
DernDoug Dern    No3.38%   DefeatedD
MorganKerry L. Morgan    No4.07%   DefeatedD
MarkmanStephen Markman   ApprovedAYes23.1%   ApprovedA

Candidates competed for one seat.

CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
ZahraBrian Zahra   ApprovedAYes49.54%   ApprovedA
BarryMindy Barry    No8.73%   DefeatedD
JohnsonShelia Johnson    No41.72%   DefeatedD

Court of Appeals

First District

Candidates competed for two seats.

CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
KellyKirsten Frank Kelly   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA
RiordanMichael Riordan   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA

Second District

Candidates competed for three seats.

CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
ServittoDeborah Servitto   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA
GleicherElizabeth Gleicher   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA
JansenKathleen Jansen   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA

Third District

Candidates competed for four seats.

CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
ShapiroDouglas Shapiro   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA
BeckeringJane Beckering   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA
BoonstraMark Boonstra   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA
MurphyWilliam B. Murphy   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA

Fourth District

Candidates competed for three seats.

CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
KrauseAmy Krause   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA
O'ConnellPeter O'Connell   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA
BorrelloStephen Borrello   ApprovedAYes100%   ApprovedA

Circuit Courts

For Circuit Court races, visit: Michigan judicial elections, 2012 - Circuit Courts.

District Courts

For District Court races, visit: Michigan judicial elections, 2012 - District Courts.

Probate Courts

For Probate Court races, visit: Michigan judicial elections, 2012 - Probate Courts.

In the News

2012 election at a glance: Michigan

Written on November 14, 2012.

Biennial judicial elections in Michigan are massive affairs: this year, 362 candidates competed in races across five levels of the courts. The race for three seats on the Michigan Supreme Court alone had 10 candidates, six of whom were nominated by at party conventions and four who ran without the designation of one of the two main political parties. In those races, the two incumbent justices, Republicans Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra, were re-elected, while Democrat Bridget Mary McCormack was elected to the court.

Surprisingly, though the races for the state's high court are very competitive, all 12 races for the Michigan Court of Appeals had incumbent judges running unopposed for re-election. All were re-elected to six-year terms on the court.

There were three levels of trial courts with elections on November 6th: the Circuit Court, District Court and Probate Courts. Collectively, 342 candidates competed for these courts. Of those 342, 185 were judges who were re-elected and only four incumbent judges were not. Looking closer at the level of courts, however, we get a more distinct picture of the competitiveness of these races.

  • In 71 races for the Circuit Courts, 46% were unopposed.
  • In 65 races for the District Courts, 66% were unopposed.
  • In 82 races for the Probate Courts, 71% were unopposed.

Michigan Supreme Court race

As featured in JP Election Brief: The Supreme Court Special on October 18, 2012.

Though the Michigan Supreme Court race is technically nonpartisan, it has been riddled with partisan conflict between the three Republican-endorsed candidates (Stephen Markman and Colleen O'Brien for the full term; Brian Zahra for the partial term) and three Democratic-endorsed candidates (Connie Marie Kelley and Bridget Mary McCormack for the full term; Shelia Johnson for the partial term). The loaded race includes a total of seven candidates running for two seats on the court, as well as three candidates running for another seat.[1]

Candidate's views

The issues in this year's Michigan Supreme Court race are: (1) the need for a Supreme Court in Michigan committed to the equal rule-of-law, in which there are no thumbs on the scales of justice, no partisan decisionmaking, no politics in the courtroom, and no judicial constituencies, and in which all parties stand equally before the law; (2) the need for a Supreme Court in Michigan committed to the 'rule of law' and not to the 'rule of judges,' in which judges respect our constitution's "judicial power" by saying only what the law "is" and not he or she personally believes the law "ought" to be. The latter authority belongs to the people's representatives in the legislative branch; and (3) the need for a Supreme Court in Michigan committed to the proposition that maintainance of a strong and effective criminal justice system constitutes the first responsibility of the state judiciary. It is the first civil right of the people to be free from violent criminal predators, and without that civil right being upheld, no society can prosper.[2]
-Stephen Markman[3]
The Michigan Supreme Court's work impacts all Michigan families and businesses, and it does so in critical ways. The ability of its justices to remain above politics and apply the rule of law impartially is supposed to separate the judiciary from the other branches of our government. I'm running for the Michigan Supreme Court to restore Michigan citizens' confidence in the Court's integrity, to ensure the Court gives everyone a fair shake, and to promote civility and reduce partisanship in our judiciary.[4]
-Bridget McCormack[3]
This race should be important to voters who want to restore fairness to the Michigan Supreme Court. The primary role of the Supreme Court is to provide justice to the citizens of the state. As the court of last resort, the Michigan Supreme Court must be fair and follow the law, thereby reassuring the public they are independent of any special interests when making decisions that effect things like child protection, fairness in the workplace, pensions and collective bargaining.[5]
-Connie Marie Kelley[3]

Michigan candidate aided by TV stars, challenged by Republicans

As featured in JP Election Brief: Money and controversies on September 27, 2012.

Michigan Supreme Court candidate Bridget Mary McCormack is making headlines during her campaign. An Associate Dean at the University of Michigan law school, McCormack released a heavily viewed campaign video earlier this month. The video, which features the reunited cast of the television show The West Wing, was compiled thanks to the help of McCormack's sister Mary, an actress who was in the show's last three seasons.[6]

Now, the Michigan Republican Party has filed an ethics complaint against the candidate for planning to speak at a Democratic fundraiser. In the complaint filed with the Attorney Grievance Commission, the party accused McCormack "of either purposely violating the ethics rules or being ignorant of them."[7] The ethics rules for campaigning say that judicial candidates are not allowed to be a featured guest at a partisan fundraiser.[7]

In filing the complaint, the Republican Party alluded to more complaints down the line, perhaps associated with the campaign video.[8]

McCormack is competing against six candidates in the race for two seats on the Michigan Supreme Court in the general election.[9]

Judge's retirement takes race off ballot

As featured in JP Election Brief: Retentions, retirements and ratings on September 20, 2012.

An interesting situation is shaping up in the now defunct race for the Chippewa County Probate Court. That court was one intended to lose a judge through attrition, as recommended by a bill signed into law earlier this year. Regardless, Judge Lowell R. Ulrich filed to run for re-election to the Chippewa County Probate Court. Before the August primary, incumbent Ulrich decided to retire instead of running for re-election.[10]

Once Ulrich announced his intention to retire, the state Director of Elections ordered the Chippewa County Clerk to remove the race from the ballot. Director Christopher M. Thomas succinctly summarized the issue:

Simply put, the position that was initially scheduled to be filled by an election no longer exists. There is no legal authority to conduct an election to fill an office that has been abolished.[11] [3]

Now, Patrick M. Shannon, who would have challenged Ulrich in the general election, is suing the Michigan Election Bureau. In a suit filed in the 50th Circuit Court, Shannon accused the director's order of being "undemocratic and def[ying] any concept of a free and honest election."[12]

The challenger contends that the retirement of Ulrich leaves an open seat on the Probate Court, which he believes is still needed to represent the citizens of Chippewa County.[12]

Filing deadline sets judicial races

As featured in JP Election Brief: Candidates filing in Michigan, Kentucky, Washington and more! on May 3, 2012.

With the exception of races for the Michigan Supreme Court, the deadline for judicial candidates in the state for this year's primary election was Tuesday, May 1. The staff at Judgepeda is working hard to create candidate pages for all of these races. Please check back in the next two weeks to find out who is running in your area.

Below is a highlight of Michigan's judicial races in 2012:

Court of Appeals 12 incumbents have filed for re-election to the Michigan Court of Appeals, and not one will face an opponent this year. To learn who is running, visit: Michigan judicial elections, 2012.

Circuit Courts 59 incumbents have filed for re-election to the Michigan Circuit Court. To learn who is running, visit: Michigan judicial elections, 2012 - Circuit Courts.

District Courts 62 incumbents have filed for re-election to the Michigan District Courts. To learn who is running, visit: Michigan judicial elections, 2012 - District Courts.

Probate Courts 68 incumbents have filed for re-election to the Michigan Probate Courts. [13]

See also

External links