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Clement selected to serve as MI Supreme Court chief justice

headshot of elizabeth clement
Matt Mitchell

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Elizabeth Clement will continue to lead the state’s judicial branch.

Clement has been serving as chief justice for the past month – since the former Chief Justice, Bridget Mary McCormack, stepped down. In a closed-door vote, the court’s seven justices selected her to serve a full two-year term leading the state’s judicial branch.

The vote is significant in part because the court has a 4-to-3 majority of justices nominated by the Democratic Party. Clement was nominated by the Republican Party.

In a statement, Clement said her priorities include expanding online services and improving juvenile justice.

“Our agenda is ambitious, but I know the judicial branch has the passion and energy to meet every challenge,” she said. “For example, juvenile justice reform is a priority as courts provide the information and expertise necessary to help enact and implement common-sense policy measures that will guide and protect young people at risk. We have the opportunity in 2023 to make Michigan a national leader in positive outcomes for every child who is engaged with the justice system.”

Clement was appointed to the court in 2017 by then-Governor Rick Snyder after serving as his chief legal counsel. She was elected to the court in 2018 as a nominee of the Republican Party – although some of her decisions have alienated Clement from the GOP base. That includes signing on to a majority opinion to allow the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission proposal onto the 2018 ballot.

Supreme Court justices in Michigan are usually nominated at party conventions, but appear on the non-partisan part of the ballot. Clement’s current term as a justice runs until 2026.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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