Stateside: Judge Connie Marie Kelley's case for candidacy
Judge Connie Marie Kelley, a candidate for Michigan’s Supreme Court, has a long career in law; one she feels makes her well-suited to serve the state. That Kelley paid her way through Law School is something she feels gives her a unique perspective.
“I am a judge in the Wayne County Circuit Court and I was instrumental in creating a domestic violence prevention court, so I sit on that court as well. I have about 31 years of legal experience and I have been in the trenches. I have a good overall view of what people go through when they go to court and I could bring my practical experience to the Michigan Supreme Court,” said Kelley.
Judges, to Kelley, function outside the strict partisan boundaries to which other politicians are bound.
“Judges are different than partisan candidates,” said Kelley.
When planning to overrule past High Court decisions, future Supreme Courts must look scrupulously at the precedent’s history and its effect on the state.
“That’s been the subject of a lot of controversy. Precedents that have been well-examined should not be overturned unless there are compelling reasons to do so.”
For Kelley, this year’s election demonstrated to the public the Court’s vital role in society.
“This year the Supreme Court had a tremendous impact on the election next week. There are so many ballot proposals that that the Court had to look at. Another hot topic I hear as I’ve traveled around the state is last year the legislature decided that certain pensions could be taxed and a lot of seniors talk about that,” said Kelley.
A sense of responsibility for all Michigan courts pervaded throughout her interview.
“The court is charged with responsibility of running all the courts throughout Michigan. It’s important that we provide a high quality legal system to the citizens of the state and yet be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” said Kelley.
Addressing both the issue of partisanship and the way Supreme Court candidates run for election, Kelley was determined to make changes in the system.
“It’s difficult for the candidates and confusing for the voters because candidates have to be nominated by a party to be on the Supreme Court Ballot yet they’re in their own place in the non-partisan section of the ballot. There’s a great reform package that has been proposed and it would make these judicial elections less partisan and take the money out of these judicial races. I think our country is weary of the partisan divide. People expect the courts to be above the politics of the day and I think that is what the Michigan Supreme court has to work harder at. We have to make sure that the decisions that are made are based on the law, not on any loyalties to special interest,” said Kelley.
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