Chief Justice Bridget McCormack helped unite a divided Michigan Supreme Court

Detroit today,

Nick Austin

This week, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack 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.

After his resignation, Governor Gretchen Whitmer will name McCormack’s successor. Whitmer’s appointee will serve until 2024 voters have the opportunity to elect a permanent successor to serve out the remainder of the term until the end of 2028. The Democratic-appointed justices currently hold an advantage of 4-3 in Michigan’s highest court, with Justices Brian K. Zahra and Richard Bernstein up for reelection in November.

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

Listen: What to expect after Justice McCormack resigns from the Michigan Supreme Court.


Rick Pluta is a Senior State Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He says Judge McCormack helped bring the court together after a long period of very acrimonious years in court.

“The Court was seen as very partisan, very divided,” Pluta says. “She’s done a lot of work fixing the fences and making it a more collegial court.”

Lauren Gibbons is a reporter covering Michigan politics for Bridge Michigan. She says that while it’s early, the decision on whether Governor Whitmer will replace McCormack could hinge on the results of the November election.

“Kyra Harris-Bolden is the Democratic candidate who is not the incumbent,” says Gibbons. “I imagine she would be quite high on the list if she didn’t win a seat in the November election.”

Photo credit: Jake Neher, WDET

Reliable, accurate, up to date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through the independent support of readers like you. If you value WDET as a source of news, music, and conversation, please donate today.

Donate Today »

  • Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh, insightful views weekdays at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

    Show all posts

  • Nick Austin hosts Soul Saturday, fusing genres like soul and hip-hop with electro and funk into a rich sonic tapestry unique to Detroit.

    Show all posts

Elna M. Lemons