Decision that ‘undermined’ Gov. Whitmer spices up court race

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The Michigan Hall of Justice, which houses the state Supreme Court and Court of Claims. (File)

DETROIT (AP/WJMN) — Two seats are up for election on the Michigan Supreme Court and a recent decision that torpedoed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s orders during the coronavirus pandemic has led to calls for political payback.

The court struck down orders to control the spread of the coronavirus, saying Whitmer acted under a 1945 law that was unconstitutional.

The opinion was 4-3, with Republican justices ruling against the Democratic governor. Gov. Whitmer says she was “undermined.”

If Elizabeth Welch and Chief Justice Bridget McCormack win, Democratic nominees will be in the court’s majority for the first time since 2010.

The Republicans are Brock Swartzle and Mary Kelly.

Cast members of The West Wing came together to produce a video encouraging citizens to cast votes in the non-partisan section of the November General Election ballot, including the names of Michigan Supreme Court candidates Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and Grand Rapids-based attorney Elizabeth Welch.

Chief Justice McCormack is the sister of former West Wing cast member, Mary McCormack who played national security advisor Kate Harper on the award-winning television series, which has seen its popularity surge thanks to streaming on Netflix.

In addition to Mary McCormack, West Wing cast members featured in the video are Martin Sheen, Alison Janney, Dule Hill, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, Janel Maloney, Joshua Malina, Jimmy Smits, and Melissa Fitzgerald.

Statistics confirm that voter drop-off in the non-partisan section of the ballot is commonplace. In 2018 when two Supreme Court seats were on the ballot, voter fall-off exceeded 26 percent.

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