Choose Your Judges

Want to Know How Judges Will Rule if Elected? Look at Who Endorses Them

October 27th, 2020

Judicial ethics prohibit candidates from stating how they would vote on specific cases–a necessary prohibition, since a judge needs to see the facts of a specific case, read the parties’ briefs, listen to arguments, and deliberate with his or her co-judges before rendering an opinion. However, judicial candidates do have ideological leanings, which voters should know before they make their decision at the polls. Because of this ethical prohibition, and because judicial candidates invariably use vague, inoffensive statements to avoid telling voters what sort of Justice they would be if elected, voters may find it challenging to determine a judicial candidates’ ideological views. Our website has reviewed and categorized hundreds of cases of for each judicial candidate that we cover, and our quiz allows you to tap into that database to determine which judicial candidate’s views most closely align with your own.

Another way to divine the ideological leanings of a judicial candidate is to examine which groups endorse the candidate. For example, this article from Michigan Advance provides background for all four candidates running for Michigan Supreme Court, and then lists the major organizations that are supporting each of them. For example, Michigan Right to Life and Michigan Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed Republican candidate Brock Swartzle, while Democrat Mary McCormack is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and Michigan League of Conservation Voters. Both candidates are endorsed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. If a voter cares about the same issues that a given advocacy group cares about, these endorsements could be a useful clue about whom to vote for.

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