WASHINGTON, D.C., August 22, 2022 – This weekend, the Michigan Democratic Party nominated two Michigan Supreme Court candidates, Justice Richard Bernstein (for reelection) and Representative Kyra Harris Bolden, in the November election. The Michigan Supreme Court has played an essential role in protecting the democratic process, access to clean water, workers’ rights, civil rights, and more — and these nominees will ensure that work toward equal justice will continue. This is particularly important in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs as the state Supreme Court considers challenges to the enforcement of a 91-year-old pre-Roe abortion ban.
Justice Richard Bernstein is seeking reelection to the Michigan Supreme Court, having built his legal career as a champion for disability rights. He launched a public service division at his family’s law firm and dedicated many pro bono hours to advocating for people with disabilities. He is the first blind justice to serve on the Court.
Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden is fighting to unseat Justice Brian Zahra, who is an active member of the conservative Federalist Society. Bolden has served in the Michigan State House since 2019, and previously served in private practice focusing on civil litigation. She would bring professional diversity to the bench having served as a criminal defense attorney, unlike Zahra, whose career focused on defending the wealthy and powerful in commercial and product liability litigation. Bolden would also be the first African-American woman ever to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court.
If Bernstein and Bolden both win their elections, Democrats will secure a 5–2 majority on the Michigan Supreme Court. The Alliance for Justice Action Campaign applauds their nominations this weekend.
Alliance for Justice Action Campaign Legal Director for State Courts Jake Faleschini issued the following statement:
“State courts have always been important, but in the wake of Dobbs they have become even more crucial. State courts will serve as a last line of defense in protecting abortion access and many other civil rights. For too long, conservatives have politicized the state courts with ideological nominees like Justice Zahra. Michiganders deserve better. The Michigan Democratic Party has nominated two excellent candidates in Justice Bernstein and Representative Bolden, and we can only hope other states take their Supreme Court elections as seriously. Too much is on the line to ignore the importance of our state courts to the lives of most people – especially at this critical moment.”