Chamber of Commerce/Insurance industry candidates retain seats on Michigan Supreme Court
This morning, election returns showed that Justices Markman and Zahra, heavily supported by the insurance industry and the Chamber of Commerce (itself dominated by the insurance industry), had won re-election to Michigan's Supreme Court. Bridget McCormick, nominated by the Democratic Party, won the position being vacated by Justice Marilyn Kelly. The outcome continues the domination of the Court by a Republican-nominated majority that has controlled the court for all but a few months since 1999.
This insurance-industry-influenced majority, supported by an estimated 10 million dollars in advertising from special interests, has emphasized an activist approach that has "improved" the law for insurance interests at the expense of consumers, environmentalists and accident victims. It will maintain a 4-3 edge, with Justices who have voted for insurance-related interests on virtually every occasion when an opinion has been written.
It would have been nice to see a less partisan majority emerge from the election. Perhaps some day the nominating process for Michigan's Supreme Court will be improved, so that candidates are selected on the basis of merit--not on the basis of allegiance to special interests. Perhaps Justice McCormick, a former law professor at U of M, will prove to be an influence toward greater scholarship on a court deemed by prestigious law schools to be the most partisan and least respected of all State Supreme Courts.