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Meet 2018 Michigan Supreme Court candidate Justice Kurtis Wilder

image of Justice Wilder in black robe
Committee to Retain Justice Kurtis T. Wilder
Justice Kurtis Wilder is running for one of the two open seats on the Michigan Supreme Court. Gov. Rick Snyder nominated him to fill a vacancy on the court in 2017.

On Election Day, Michigan voters will select two state Supreme Court justices. Their choices could shift the political balance on the court, which is currently five to two in favor of Republican-backed justices. This week, Morning Edition is featuring interviews with candidates for the court.

We conclude our four-part series with Justice Kurtis Wilder, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Rick Snyder to fill a vacancy in 2017. 

Wilder has served as a Michigan judge for 26 years. Former governor John Engler originally appointed him to the Washtenaw County Circuit Court in 1992 and then to the state appeals court in 1998. 

In a recent state Supreme Court case about school districts banning guns on school property, opponents argued districts cannot write policies that violate the Michigan's open carry law. The court ruled in favor of the schools with a politically divided majority.

"I think I have shown myself over the years as being a rule of law justice."

Although he agreed with the majority, Wilder dissented. He says he wanted the court to also give guidence about whether the district policies conflict with the rights afforded to people who have concealed pistol licenses.

"CPL holders have been given exemptions from gun laws, and there appeared to be a conflict with the broader ability of districts to regulate," he said. 

Wilder says he sees his role of interpreting state law as something like that of a baseball umpire.

"I think I have shown myself over the years as being a rule-of-law justice," he says. "Somebody else has determined the rules. That's the legislature and the governor, and it's up to the courts to apply it as written." 

Wilder has the support of the Michigan Republican Party.

To hear the full interview, click on the play button above. You can find the rest of our Supreme Court candidate interviews below. 

Doug Tribou joined the Michigan Public staff as the host of Morning Edition in 2016. Doug first moved to Michigan in 2015 when he was awarded a Knight-Wallace journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
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