Bench Memos

Michigan Supreme Court in the Balance

The Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary on Michigan’s Supreme Court race:

Michigan legal watchers also worry that a flip of the court could undermine the state’s economic climate. The court’s jurisprudence has been especially noteworthy in the area of civil liability, where the court’s conservative majority has limited plaintiffs attorneys’ attempts to test new theories of liability. While state Supreme Courts in Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin and Georgia have all blocked tort reform laws passed by the state legislatures, Michigan’s court has stood up to the tort bar and helped improve the legal climate for business in the state.  

Among the conservative incumbents in Michigan is Justice Stephen Markham, who ran the Office of Legal Policy in President Reagan’s Justice Department and has been credited with helping shape the Reagan administration’s commitment to appointing a new generation of “textualist” judges. Justice Brian Zahra, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to the seat vacated by Justice Maura Corrigan, is also contesting his seat against state District Court Judge Shelia Johnson.

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